Emtec Gdium Liberty 1000 – a netbook with an OS on a stick

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Emtec themselves admit there’s a bit of a netbook craze at the moment in PC land (not a principality of PC World) but then, who really cares? We like these things. Well, most of us do anyway and how can it not benefit the consumer to have more choice and more competition among the manufacturers?

Anyway, that’s besides the point because the 10″ Emtec Gdium offers a twist on standard sub-notebookery with the use of that fat looking USB device at the front, known as the G-Key.

It’s not an entirely new idea to store all sorts of applications on removal drives, such as antivirus software, and indeed I’m sure that the Gdium is not the first computer to store the whole operating system on one either but I think they’re the first to do it purposely packaged on one of these devices.

The whole machine measures 250mm x 182mm x 32mm – as modelled by the Dell pencil – and weighs a slightly illegal 1.2kg. With its three USB ports, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, integrated webcam, VGA output and headset and microphone sockets, it’s beginning to remind me of another new release I wrote about only the other day, which I believe is a rebadge of yet another.

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Of course, the USP is the G-Key. The idea is that, firstly, it lends itself to multiple users each with their own OS and data on their interchangeable USB sticks. The second point is that it gives the Gdium a certain degree of future proofing because of the fact that the memory is stored remotely.

How much stock I put in this second claim is another thing altogether. After all, what happens when the RAM is obsolete or USB 3.0 is invented or any such thing that sits on the main chassis?

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I’m also not completely convinced they’ve got their homework right either. Are netbooks really the kind of computers that people share or is the point that you carry your own everywhere? I could see them being useful in an office, where computers are company owned, but it’s quite a specific niche for consumers. I don’t know. I could be wrong.

At least Emtec has allayed my first fear which was about losing your G-Key, and hence your entire life, but there is an online back-up facility and a service by which a new one can be supplied.

There’s no native Bluetooth but there is a mini-dongle included for the purpose and I’m told you can get up to 32GB of storage on each key. The rest of the spec is, as yet, a mystery but I’ll be getting my hands on one soon and I can let you know then.

For the moment I’m intrigued if slightly sceptical. But, if you want to get the date in your diary, the Emtec Gdium Liberty 1000, as it’s officially known, will be out later this month in France and possibly here too. Expect to pay £279 for the 8GB version and £299 for the 16GB version. No word on the 32GB or the 8.9″ incarnation, which is also expected, but I can tell you that it’s all Linux as far as the eye can see.

Looking forward to bringing you more on this.

Gdium

Related posts: Emtec Movie Cube-R | Dell netbook

Daniel Sung