Wintel Company Clones PowerBook G4, Touts It As Digital Hub

When you hear the term "Digital Hub," who do you picture in your mind? It most likely isnit a company called BenQ Worldwide, as much as theyid like you to do so. However, if you take a moment to visit the product section of the Global page of BenQis Web site, youill see a listing called "Digital Hub;" and whatis that picture itis attached to? Why, a PowerBook G4 look-alike, of course! That makes sense for a company pitching itis laptop as a great computer to " Edit movies. Compile personal music DVDs. Or create your own graphics." In fact, the company tells us that "BenQis pre-installed Q Media lets you jump right in without the need for extra software."

The Joybook 8000 isnit exactly a carbon copy of Appleis TiBook, but it shares some similarities. It has the same general appearance, same 15.2" widescreen LCD, same heat vents, same speaker placement, and similar specs. The Joybook isnit the first PowerBook G4 look-alike, though, the vprMatrix 200A5 has that distinction. BenQ is the first company that we know of, however, to produce a TiBook clone and promote it as part of a Digital Hub concept, even going so far as to use Appleis Digital Hub name.

Apple introduced the Digital Hub in January of 2001 when the company introduced iMovie. Since that time, Apple has promoted the Macintosh as the Digital Hub with themes that are similar to the ones BenQ is using. From BenQ:

The Joybook 8000 is a full-fledged multimedia device. Using integrated internal software, users have the ability to handle a wide array of tasks including connecting personal digital equipment, editing videos, sharing files and storage functionality. Capitalizing on the BenQ networked digital lifestyle concept, the Joybook 8000 sports an ultra-bright 15.2" LCD panel, nVIDIA graphics chip and high performance sound equalizer, producing sharp colors, shedding new reality on videos and audio.

"The Joybook 8000is importance lies not only in the fact that it is the first in this product line, but that it symbolizes our migration into a new era of uniting work and entertainment spheres," said Mr. Jerry Wang, Vice-President of BenQ Sales Operation, "BenQ Joybook 8000 emphasizes work, personal information and entertainment. It integrates digital entertainment peripherals, video and sound with basic computer processing. There is a marked difference between the traditional computer operating functionality of a notebook and the BenQ Joybook which supports both work and entertainment needs."

The Digital Hub concept is further enhanced by the Joybook 8000is FireWire (IEEE 1394),USB 2.0 compatibility and type II PCMCIA slot, giving users the option to connect a myriad of digital devices such as MP3 players, flash drives and other peripherals. Additionally, an internal DVD/CD-RW combo allows users to readily share information with others.

The Joybook has not been priced, and the company has not announced a release date. You can find more information on this machine and the company at the BenQ Web site. Thanks to Observer Ronald Wee for giving us the heads up on this.