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In Search of the Cheap Linux Laptop 421

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the ever-hopeful dept.
mr_mischief writes "According to Hot Hardware's recent review, Asus is getting ready to unleash a $199 compact notebook running Linux. This is entirely different from this recent $150 Linux laptop story which many Slashdot readers believed to be a scam. There's a dual-mode menu which offers a simple system for novice computer users, and a slightly more advanced version for others. It's not aimed squarely at the same market as the One Laptop Per Child project's XO, and is expected to be sold to end users worldwide. It's targeted at new users who don't own a computer or at people who want a cheap, small laptop for basic tasks. The reviewed version has a 7" screen and a cramped keyboard to match, but a 10" version is available for $100 more. It offers built-in wired and wireless networking, four USB 2.0 ports, and a three-hour battery life. The storage options are a bit cramped, as you only get 4 GB of on-board storage (8 GB on the $299 model) and no optical drive. As the review says, though, USB 2.0 can make up for that if you like, and the lack of moving drive parts makes the machine run dead quiet."
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In Search of the Cheap Linux Laptop

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  • An NT$10 coin (Score:4, Informative)

    by croddy (659025) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:06PM (#20049439)
    The author shows a photo with the laptop next to a Taiwan $10 coin, adding that it is about the same size as a US half-dollar. Since this won't help most folks in the US (for whom receiving a half-dollar coin in change is a rare occurrence), it may help to know that the NT$10 coin is not quite 2mm larger than a U.S. quarter.
  • 32GB USB stick (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:06PM (#20049447)
    Toshiba do a 32GB USB flash drive, so storage isn't a problem :)
    • Re:32GB USB stick (Score:5, Interesting)

      by harrkev (623093) <[gro.ylimafnoslerrah] [ta] [dsmfk]> on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:11PM (#20049499) Homepage
      The big problem with flash drive (IMHO) is that they stick out.

      It would be cool if such a device could have an "internal" USB drive bay. Basicly, you open a lid and there is a recess large enough to stick most USB drives. That way you can upgrade the machine without having anything sticking out.
    • Re:32GB USB stick (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BlackSmithNZ (1064822) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:15PM (#20051217)
      You know, thinking about it, 8GB is not so bad.

      I get roped into doing support for family & friends, and the typical grandmother PC once degunked, normally has a few card games, maybe a few photo's & a pile of email (all dumped in the inbox along with 2000 spam messages).

      When I back up a family computer, (trying hard to ignore the crap pr0n on my father-in-laws 'puter), I typically don't have to compress anything to fit on a 800mb CD - it's often just Outlook Express email & nothing else.

      get you grandmother set up with one of these laptops and a gmail account, and they will be happy. No having to pay McAfee or MS for endless updates, makes their life easy. Sure they will complain when they can't run the .SCR Christmas card that some stranger sent them, but quiet & portable will win them over.

      Isn't think the Google vision for the future of computing; and Microsoft's nightmare; people using generic, cheap laptops for accessing Google, a PS3/Wii for games and some USB/LAN attached box for your data storage? 8GB - or maybe a few more via the USB port is enough for many people; and for those with video/mp3 collections, plug in an external 500GB HDD; as/when you need it.

  • What confuses me as soon as it says "$100 more" is that you are at $299 and for another $150 you can wander into BestBuy and splash $450 on a decent laptop that comes with Vista. Knocking $80 or what ever for the OEM version means that you are talking $370 or so for a decent laptop with a decent screen and a decent disk et al and this is for something with a dual core Intel processor.

    Now given Moore's Law around the hardware, and screen real estate, its a bit odd that $299 gets you a computer that is that
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:11PM (#20049507)

      a decent laptop that comes with Vista


      Oxymoron alert! Oxymoron alert!
    • What confuses me as soon as it says "$100 more" is that you are at $299 and for another $150 you can wander into BestBuy and splash $450 on a decent laptop that comes with Vista.


      Perhaps, but that's for a time-and-a-half the cost of "high end" of the ASUS inexpensive laptops.

    • by timholman (71886) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:28PM (#20049655)

      What confuses me as soon as it says "$100 more" is that you are at $299 and for another $150 you can wander into BestBuy and splash $450 on a decent laptop that comes with Vista. Knocking $80 or what ever for the OEM version means that you are talking $370 or so for a decent laptop with a decent screen and a decent disk et al and this is for something with a dual core Intel processor.

      For the market this laptop is intended for, 4 GB of storage is probably perfectly adequate. Keep in mind that 4 GB hard drives were standard for laptops just ten years ago, and lots of people did real work with that much storage. At $199 a pop, Asus will have a laptop that is nearly cheap enough to become an impulse buy for a lot of people.

      Sure, you can always get a much better machine for a little more money, but a certain segment of the market is always attracted by the lowest possible price. Clearly this is what Asus is aiming for.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by blhack (921171) *
        As far as impulse buys go, $199 is really doable. Think about airports, sell this thing for 200 bucks and give you free wifi in the airport for the rest of the day; i REALLY think you might get some people with too much money to buy the thing....i know i would (if i forgot my laptop).

        And something i just thought of: i paid almost this much money for my soekris board, and that thing didn't have a SCREEN, a battery, a keyboard, come to think of it....where is that soren guy, i'm gonna kick his ass!
      • kids (Score:3, Informative)

        I have 13 and 15 year old kids, both of whom want laptops. They aren't getting a $1200 Macbook. They aren't even getting a $600 laptop. It'll get left at a friend's house, on the bus, or dropped. It may not, but it may. At $200 or so, it wouldn't kill me if they lost it, though I'd be irritated. At $600 or even $400, it would piss me off and they wouldn't get another one. Price points do matter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rsilva (128737)
      Just one question: can you show me a $ 450,00 descent laptop that weights around 2 pounds?

      The weight, hence portability, is clearly a key factor for this computer.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      The 199$ machine sounds like a decent value - hey, it's a computer at 200$! The 300$ version I agree sounds somewhat underwhelming. With computers, the cost which relates to the price is often counterintuitive. If you have a pound of flesh, you can trivially cut it two and sell each for half. If you have a single-layer single-platter HDD, you can't easily sell HDDs with half a platter's size - not at half price anyway.

      Looking at my nearest webshop, their cheapest socket 775 processor is a 3.46GHz PIV. Yes,
    • by arth1 (260657) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:45PM (#20049825) Homepage Journal
      If you buy it for portability and not specs, hell yes, $300 is a good price for a 10" notebook. For coparison, the cheapest sub-12" notebook at Newegg that's is a Fujitsu Lifebook at around $1500 on sale.

      What I primarily use a notebook for is web browsing, e-mail and a terminal window. What benefit would a high spec laptop with Vista have for me? It'd just burn battery and heat up my genitals.
    • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:51PM (#20049903)
      The $450 BestBuy laptop will not be a lightweight 10" machine though. The cheapest LifeBook P7230 which costs ~$1,600 w/ rebates, and it has a 1.2 Ghz Core Solo, 1 Gig of RAM and an Intel GFX chip. The only thing it has significantly more of is the HDD, but then it's not a solid state thingie.

      Looking at the Eee's specs, it's significantly better than the old Compaq Armada M300 [hp.com] I currently have. My M300 was originally equipped with a 6GB hard drive, so the 8GB or 16GB models would actually be an improvement, if I hadn't upgraded it with an 80GB Seagate drive :). Assuming the 10" screen will be at least 1024x768, it would be an excellent replacement for the armada, whose battery is beginning to crap out. Faster processor, double the RAM amount and battery life, more USB ports, built in wireless, and a webcam all for just $299.

      Despite my excitement, whether the 10" Eee is a rip off or not depends on the needs and expectations of the user. I almost always carry my M300 with me, and I mainly use it for web surfing, some office tasks, light coding work and some gaming. This is exactly what I'd want the Eee to do, and I'm sure it'll handle these tasks just fine (by gaming I meant an occasional game of Starcraft or Doom deathmatch). If, on the other hand, the laptop will always remain on the table at home, and is expected to run Vista, then yeah, an additional $100 will get you a much more suitable machine.

      Ok... I now see that there are quite a few replies already, but I'll still post this in case I covered something that hasn't been mentioned yet.
    • instead of a common laptop. This is not intended as a desktop replacement that needs to be placed on a desk to comfortably use, it is a truly portable pc as a complement to your beefy pc that you can slap out anywhere ,any time, in the class,on the bus, sitting , standing, you name it. With a weight of 2lb, I can comfortably hold this baby with one hand for extended length of time. It will be perfect for me as a student to put in my book bag. And for taking notes, writing papers , surfing the net, checking
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tkw954 (709413)
      Moore's law only applies to the number of transistors on a chip at a given price range. I'd imagine that at this price point, the case, screen, keyboard and connectors become a more significant cost than the transistors on the chips.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      What confuses me as soon as it says "$100 more" is that you are at $299 and for another $150 you can wander into BestBuy and splash $450 on a decent laptop that comes with Vista. Knocking $80 or what ever for the OEM version means that you are talking $370 or so for a decent laptop with a decent screen and a decent disk et al and this is for something with a dual core Intel processor.

      Not everyone needs a "decent laptop". I am considering hooking up my grandparents with two of those to keep connected and all
    • Considering that this device is a good bit more powerful and expandable than the Palm Foleo, yet it is about the same form factor and just as portable, $299 isn't a bad price at all. The Foleo is $499 ($49 more than your cheap laptop example) and is nothing more than a PDA in a laptop shell. The Eee is a true ultraportable laptop; while it is shown running Linux with Qtopia and KDE frontends, I could easily see it running Windows XP with the specs listed. I would venture to say that the Eee's biggest fans w
    • by ejito (700826) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:24PM (#20050241)

      its a bit odd that $299 gets you a computer that is that crap.
      This one is finally the laptop I want: small, lightweight, and not bloated. I don't want to spend 1-2k USD on a mini laptop, and I don't want to spend 500 USD on a bulky laptop, even if it's faster and has extras like Vista (no thanks).

      For it's size and weight, this is an excellent buy. Usually we'd be paying more for such a small size. You don't need speed on a a lightweight portable -- save the speed for a desktop (if you want to use your laptop as a desktop, that's a whole different issue).
    • Because all of the other laptops are 15 inch screens and weigh at least 5 to 6 pounds (if you're lucky) - this is just under 2lbs with a 7 inch screen. All other super-small notebooks on the market are currently about $1100 to $1500 USD EASILY, and even with the other 2 subnotebooks coming out soon - the VIA Nanobook and PALM Foleo are both around 500 to 600 USD for extremely close to the same specs.
  • Memory? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:10PM (#20049495) Journal
    To all the manufacturers making these small, low-power PCs and notebooks I have one request. Please make the RAM expandable. Put an SO-DIMM slot in there, either in addition to the soldered-on system RAM or as the only system RAM.

    512 Mb is nice, but being able to stick a 2 Gb SO-DIMM in there would make this system useful for so many more people than just their target audience.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If you're going to use that much RAM then chances are you're using applications that require a lot of processing power. So you'll need more fans and there will be more heat. These laptops are designed for basic and quick tasks like checking email quietly and easily.
  • by ph4rmb0y (711836) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:12PM (#20049511)
    Will it run windows? ;)
    • by solevita (967690)
      The Windows key is a real nice touch... Makes the mind boggle (although I'm sure you're all intelligent enough to do your own boggling).
    • I'm sure windows 2000 would work fine on this hardware. Asus is still providing drivers for Win2k for their other hardware so I wouldn't imagine drivers would be an issue. Disk space might be a little tight but what do you expect for $200?
  • From the photos, it looks like the 7" and 10" models use the same case/chassis. The smaller screen just has a giant black bezel around it, taking up the space where the larger screen would go. Although this brings up interesting upgrade possibilities, I think it's fairly obnoxious; I wouldn't mind a 7"-screen laptop if the entire thing were only 7" diagonal (example, something like the Psion Series 7), but a 7" screen in a case that's built for 10" would just annoy me.
    • by vtcodger (957785)
      ***I wouldn't mind a 7"-screen laptop if the entire thing were only 7" diagonal (example, something like the Psion Series 7), but a 7" screen in a case that's built for 10" would just annoy me.***

      The article criticises the keys as being too small. A narrower PC will make that even worse. If you don't put a substantial bezel around the 7 inch diagonal screen, you are going to end up with a keyboard that can't be used by adults without extreme frustration.

      • by xSauronx (608805)
        i already wouldnt be able to use that keyboard without frustration. a customer i know has a 12" 700m and its god damn tiny already. im not *too* uncomfortable on my T40, but much smaller and i easily would be.

        still for 200 bucks. i might be interested :)

      • If you've ever owned a Toshiba Libretto (the old Pentium MMX ones, not the newer Pentium M machines) then you know the hell that is touch-typing on a Lilliputian keyboard. The only reason I got rid of my classic Libretto was the keyboard; it was a very handy device otherwise. This Asus notebook looks to be a good bit larger than the Librettos, but still cramped.
  • by keithjr (1091829) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:13PM (#20049527)
    900MHz Intel Dothan based Pentium M CPU

    512MB of DDR2 memory

    802.11g wireless capability

    flash-based hard drive ($199 for 4GB, $299 for 8GB)

    weight: .89 kilograms, just around 2 pounds

    Ports:
      four USB 2.0
      VGA output
      10/100 Ethernet
      56K phone modem

    Battery:
      4-cell, estimated 3 hours life

    The lack of an optical drive and the low nonvolatile storage space is a bummer, but flash hard drives are faster and stabler. And as the article states, you can always hook up an external.

  • One of the key points that makes the XO laptop so interesting is that it can be used as a eBook Reader, this thing just looks like a normal laptop, not very comfortable for eBook reading, I'll pass.
  • by Per Bothner (19354) <per@bothner.com> on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:29PM (#20049663) Homepage
    What I'm waiting for a compact laptop/hand-held with a daylight-readable display. That's what would make a OLPC clone interesting to me, and as it appears the Asus doesn't have such a display, I'm not interested. (Of course others may find a low-cost light-weight mini-laptop very useful.)
    • The problem with OLPC is that they currently have no plans to sell to the public. If you're not a government buying them for weapons^W poor children in lot sizes in the millions, they're not interested.

      I would probably take the XO over this at the same price, but I'm not going to support "blood laptops" any more than I support "blood diamonds". If I can buy this on the open market this fall while Negroponte is still trying to decide if XO is ever going to be available to adults in developed countries, this
      • by Hatta (162192)
        The problem with OLPC is that they currently have no plans to sell to the public.

        That's ok, it will be easy enough to get them on ebay.
      • by gigne (990887)
        vaguely off topic...

        If you are a Psion fan, you might want to keep one eye on project Psion Resurrection [psionresurrection.org] which aims to put a Linux powered Gumstix [gumstix.org] in a psion shell. Cool
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fliplap (113705)
      For years NEC produced the Versa Daylite, it came with a trans reflective screen that was specifically designed for outdoor viewing
  • by huckda (398277) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:33PM (#20049707) Journal
    I'll take a Nokia N800 for $375 Alex.

    with built in bluetooth, and an ultrasmall form factor, great built-in wireless...ultramobile lovely linux internet tablet.

    and if I don't want to use the touch-screen ultrasharp display...I'll get a 1 handed keyboard from Frogpad.com to connect via bluetooth.
    • I got a ThinkOutside folding bluetooth keyboard to go with my 770. It fits in the same jacket pocket as the 770 itself, and is fine to type on except for numbers. It's a lot better than some laptop keyboards I've used. I've typed several articles on it; having a Vim-capable machine with a decent keyboard in my pocket is a great way of reducing dead time.
  • by 5pp000 (873881) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:38PM (#20049761)
    First we get the "Wii", now we have the "Eee". What's next, "Oooeeyaaaeee"???
  • I've been reading about these for several weeks now, and am really looking forward to it. Anyone who remembers the i-Opener (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-Opener) will grin to think that this, while slightly more expensive (less than double, when considering inflation, though -- and it's a laptop!) will come with Linux by default.

    I want one for school: taking notes is such ludicrous misemployment for my main laptop; I cringe each time I carry it back and forth to my law school classes to ... tap out some n
  • Twenty years ago I used a Tandy Model 100. Decent keyboard, way too small a display, no moving parts, fairly small and light, and would run a couple of long days on 4xAA batteries. It also had functional applications and a modem built in. Reporters, etc. used them by the thousands. This might actually be a nearly ideal replacement.

    It has a LOT more functionality in a reasonable package.

    Battery life is iffy, but probably adequate.

    Display seems OK. Sunlight is probably an issue.

    But how is the keyboard,
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hoppy (21392)
      Maybe the ink-media laptop based on ARM processor could replace it:

      http://aptustech.com/?q=node/10 [aptustech.com]

      It has a fairly powerfull ARM11 processor clocked at 500MHz with 256MB of RAM and 1GB of flash. 2 SDCard slots for extension are present.
      It should have a lower power consumption than the Asustek based on a x86 processor. End of course it can not run Windows (well it may be running WinCE). It's delivered with Linux.
      • Wow, I wish I'd known about that one before I submitted the article summary. Now I think I might want one of these... but it's $300 (Canadian, but the Canadian dollar is not as weak compared to the US dollar as it once was). It's an ARM, and there's lots of software for Linux on ARM. It's got twice the battery life, the keyboard looks to detach, and it has dual SD slots.

        Oh, it's a great day when you're deciding between two different sub-$300 ultra-portables.

    • by abigor (540274)
      To be perfectly honest, the keyboard on those old Model 100s is nearly unbeatable. They just don't build 'em like they used to - my MacBook has chiclets!
  • For people on the road fixing stuff for a living this would be a great improvement over most of the overly large and overkill laptops you have to shove in your bag now. ( at least for ones that have to pay for their own hardware ).

    You really dont need much hardware to RDP/X11 a server, check a network, or hook to a diag port on a router.
    • SSH, too. (Score:3, Interesting)

      The bulk of my work that isn't fixing stuff is done with vim over SSH and a web browser. Firefox is getting a bit heavy, but it only has the one or two tabs I need for the app I'm developing -- Konqueror can handle the rest.

      There are other nice things you could do, if you bother to set it up. For instance, instead of carrying a half-dozen boot CDs or DVDs, you could bring this and a crossover cable, and use that to "jump start" someone's computer. Might even prove a good analogy, when someone asks what you'
  • Diminishing returns? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:09PM (#20050085) Homepage Journal
    Are we reaching the point on laptop prices where cheaper laptops are not feasible simply due to administrative costs? Consider these examples. Apple puts together an iPhone, and it likely costs $150 to build. They didn't use the cheapest parts but you know they did get a good price. This laptops looks like an emate, and an in inflation adjusted numbers costs only a little less. MS, who does not even need to make money, cannot put together a media player for less than $200. Each component may be cheap, but there is cost in ordering, receiving, qualifying, assembling, and verifying. Each component that is added, each new solder joint, increases the costs nonlinearly. How much did Apple save by not making the battery removable? If one has a device with 10 components, is it possible to engineer, assemble and ship the device for less $200 even if the components are next to nothing?

    The point we are at right now is that there has been little advance in merging components. Computers got cheap, in part, to VLSI. Now, instead of creating a single chip laptop, we have dual cores. To get to the holy grail of the computer so cheap that we buy it for no reason, the device count has to go way down. A couple chips, a couple ports, and a screen. It may even have to have a fake keyboard, just like the cheap computers of the 80's, which, btw, were also just a few chips and few ports.

  • 7" is way too small. Even 10" is too small. There should be a 12 or 14" option for $299.

    The other limitations - no optical and only 4GB storage - are not a problem in my opinion.
    • by Dogtanian (588974) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:32PM (#20050853) Homepage

      7" is way too small.
      Contrary to what some people think, 7" is slightly above average and nothing to be ashamed about.

      Even 10" is too small.
      Whoah... talk about high standards. Is this for yourself or what you're looking for in another guy? What a size queen...

      There should be a 12 or 14" option for $299.
      Now you're just getting silly. Even the most outlandish spam doesn't promise that much, and who really wants 14" when it comes down to it? Given the choice, I'd stick with the 10".
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:12PM (#20050107)
    Since it was mentioned in the summary, there's a new blog following the whole fiasco at http://medisonscam.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

    Some interesting highlights from the last few days:

    The old product pictures has been replaced on Medisons site. According to Comon.dk Medison have foretold that they were replaced by "real" pictures to get more trustworthy. They say that they have hired a professional photographer to take the pictures. The question however, is why a professional photographer would use a Canon Digital IXUS 60 digital camera at 10 in the evening (See the Exif-tags in the pictures). That is for those who don't know a small compact consumer camera... Yes we know that this doesn't "prove" anything, it's just another "fun fact" in this story.

    A poster on SweClockers posted the following answer that is supposed to be from the manufacturer: "they got one pcs sample from our customer and not paid". Hmm, interesting, isn't it?

    According to the Danish site Comon.dk, Medison will have a press conference on Wednesday to clear things out. They have also spoken with several people in the computer industry that claims, just like all other experts, that the price is "impossible".


    The Asus Eee offer however is great I'm looking forward to their machine. You shouldn't look at this laptop from the perspective of using it as full blown desktop Machine. Consider all the stuff you get at mere $200, for a nice mobile computer with full-sized keyboard and rich internet abilities. It makes for far better browsing/mail checking than what you can do on your $600 iPhone.
  • Sounds good, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gshakhn (776481) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:22PM (#20050209)
    Overall, this sounds like an amazing computer for school. About 2 pounds? That small? Awesome. However, I've got a few questions.

    How easy is it to install additional programs? I'd assume they'd attempt to limit that in the basic interface, with only a few choices from preselected packages. With the advanced interface though, can you install anything you want? Do you get access to the terminal? Is there apt, yum? Something similar to Synaptic so you don't have to use the terminal? Only packages approved by Asus, or can you access any repository you want?

    It says that the laptop is Windows compatible. I assume this means that the user can install another OS by themselves. With lack of an optical drive though, will it boot from the USB to install? What about drivers, such as for the webcam?

    All in all, it sounds like a great deal. The small screen bugs me a bit, but what do you expect for the size?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mmxsaro (187943)
      I would say that, considering most Asus motherboards allow you to boot off virtually anything USB these days; yes, you should be able to hook up an external optical drive and reinstall as you please.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fizzol (598030)
      By all appearences it's a trimmed down version of Xandros (based on Debian) Linux. Xandros Networks is a GUI front end for apt-get and should allow you to install most anything you care too. Synaptic is available too if you prefer that, again assuming it's basically the same as the full-size Xandros.
  • There's a decent entry already (with plentiful links to other articles etc) already up. Since Wikipedia allows a different kind of information aggregation than does Slashdot, I hope lots of people (accurately ;)) extend what's there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASUS_Eee_PC [wikipedia.org]

    timothy

  • by mathfeel (937008) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:35PM (#20050347)
    Have you guys notice?

    It comes with linux by default, yet its keyboard has the regular "windows flag" key...Wouldn't it make more sense to print a penguin on it instead?

    Just my 50-cents (thickness of the device)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      I didn't RTFA, but I've R'd several other FAs about this and most of the pictures showed the meta ('windows') key having a circle and square logo on it. There were reports that some of the early prototypes had a windows flag on their meta key, but this was fixed in the later ones. It does, however, have a single-button trackpad, which I consider a win for usability, but some Linux users may not care for (the supplied environment is tailored for single-button use, but if you want to put GNOME or KDE on it
  • I was just complaining that I couldn't find a laptop that actually meets my travel needs. All I need is something to check email, do a little web browsing, and maybe view photos and do a little remote SSH to take care of problems at work. I have a laptop but hate to carry it because it's too big.

    This is actually exactly what I've been looking for. I'm so in line for this.
  • by timothy (36799)
    Linked from the Eee page at Wikipedia, I just found this (mostly) similarly equipped laptop upcoming from VIA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NanoBook [wikipedia.org]

    It uses a conventional hard drive, but also claims greater battery life. Also a 7" screen, but uses the space differently -- from the description and the way the photo looks (prototype?), I guess that's a trackpad next to the screen. Price will be "agressive," says that page, but it would have to be damn near ferocious to beat the $200 one from Asus ... assuming
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Your Pal Dave (33229)

      Price will be "agressive," says that page, but it would have to be damn near ferocious to beat the $200 one from Asus ... assuming that stays $200, not $279+shipping or something.
      According to this article on engadget [engadget.com], the nanobook will clock in at $600. Not bad for all you get, but not really comparable to the Eee.
  • by renfrow (232180) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:47PM (#20050473) Homepage
    Forget using it as a laptop, I'm going to use it as the house server. Get it set up, make the system card read-only and stick it in a closet with 1+ USB drives, it's quiet and low heat. If you need to see the 'console' pop the lid and there it is.

    Tom.
  • by Undead Ed (1068120) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:49PM (#20050487)

    Here we have a brand new low cost platform that comes preinstalled with Linux. All the ney-sayers are simply yelling sour grapes because Microsoft will not be able to field anything like this in North America or Europe in the foreseeable future.

    I am going to buy two for my grandkids - they will love it. They'll be able to play music and TV off the home wireless network. They can VoIP with video using Skype. They can read books from Project Gutenberg. They can message and chat to their hearts content. Hey, they may even do some homework and learn something, Who Knows!

    For me, I can add a 22" LCD monitor and create a wireless multimedia node for the bedroom. I can also use it as a smart thin client with USB keyboard & mouse and some speakers.

    Add some external storage like a 2.5" 120 gig HD and some earbuds and I can listen to music or avi's until the batteries wear down. I can store all my contact information and write some emails, Skype some friends (VoIP with video), message, play games and chat for hours away from my desktop computer.

    This machine is great and I for one am going to promote it to all my friends including the ones that are afraid of computers.

    What a great standby machine!

    Just so you know, I have 3 laptop computers 'Dell Inspiron 5100 - big, hot and heavy', 'Toshiba Tecra 8200 - smaller, lighter but tied to the power supply now' and 'Dell Latitude CPx - nice but slow, also tied to the power adapter'. These machines, for one reason or another, are unsuitable for newbs and kids whereas the Asus 3ePC looks perfect.

    I have no problem with the screen layout the way it is - there are speakers on either side of the screen and a microphone and camera there as well.

    All that power, connectivity (WiFi b/g, Ethernet 10/100, modem and USB), excellent memory - 512 meg, sufficient storage with USB addons as required, stereo speakers, microphone, web camera, 3 hours on battery AND it comes with an OS with a FULL office suite, Firefox, Skype, email and lots of applications!

    All for $199!

    LOOK OUT MICROSOFT!!!

    This is the killer product Linux needs to get it's foot in the door - this machines will sell in all the usual outlets plus drug stores, gift shops and grocery markets if promoted properly and Asus may be the guys to do it.

    Yep - put XP on that thing and it will be a pig with no room left for anything else. With a light-weight Linux, perhaps Ubunto or Kubunto or even Slax, and the user may really haved something.

    This is just my two-bits but I am excited.

    Undead Ed

    • by Wicko (977078) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:54PM (#20050987)
      There are a few exceptions to your statement about XP, using nLite to reduce your XP image to only essentials, or look for TinyXP, (assuming you own XP already, ;) ) and you will hardly use up any space at all.. a version of TinyXP that I have is 150MB. Haven't used it yet so I have no idea what its size is uncompressed, but it certainly won't be that bad. A solution for those of us who don't want to be stuck with Linux.
  • Linux Laptop Vendors (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @03:41AM (#20054193) Homepage Journal
    I just recently started a page linking to linux laptop vendors [inglorion.net]. Check it out, and if you have anything to contribute, feel free to reply to this post.

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