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Portables Sony Hardware

Sony Says Eee PC Signals "Race To the Bottom" 393

Posted by kdawson
from the what-you-mean-we dept.
Alex Dekker writes "Sony's Mike Abary says in an interview, 'If [Asus's Eee PC] starts to do well, we are all in trouble.' Presumably by 'we' he means all the hardware manufacturers who sell over-priced, full-fat laptops. And he's not going to be too pleased when he sees the Linux-powered, sub-$200 Elonex One. Looks like what's bad for Sony may be good for the consumer." The CNet article mentions that a version of the Eee running XP is available in Japan now and will be coming to the US within weeks.
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Sony Says Eee PC Signals "Race To the Bottom"

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  • About dang time... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EntropyXP (956792) on Friday February 29, 2008 @11:40AM (#22601222)
    Remember when DELL said they'd create the first sub-$1000 PC and people just laughed at them? I never understand why people pay $2000 for a LAPTOP that can so easily be stolen, dropped or damaged. $200 for a email machine is more of the price range that they should be in.
    • After all, it's an appliance.

      Particularly since the eee PC runs on Linux, and has an easy mode by default.
    • by evilklown (1008863) on Friday February 29, 2008 @11:46AM (#22601326)
      I'm so glad someone finally said one of the key phrases in technology advancement:

      Looks like what's bad for Sony may be good for the consumer.
    • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Friday February 29, 2008 @11:49AM (#22601380) Journal
      Seriously, did anyone read the whole thing? About two paragraphs are devoted to the whole 'race to the bottom' thing without explaining exactly why Sony thinks this a problem. The rest of the entry just goes on and on about all the cool things Sony sells and how many colors and textures the Vaio comes in.
      • by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:02PM (#22601612) Homepage Journal

        That's Sony for you: All marketing, no brains.

        Seriously, does Sony really think we can take pronouncements like this as gospel when their top lawyers can't even listen and answer properly? [blogspot.com]

        • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:27PM (#22601950)

          That's Sony for you: All marketing, no brains.
          I wouldn't say they have no brains. They consistently make high quality tech products. Blu-ray (despite being DRM crippled) will probably be the next CD. I sure hope it is. They chose to throw their engineering might behind Plasma TVs because, while they cost more, they produce a better picture (too bad the market preferred cheaper LCDs). They produced the first handheld 1080p camcorder, and it's actually high quality. Now anybody can make their own home-pro-snowboarding video. Their Vaio laptops are known, industry wide, for having, hands-down, the best displays-- AKA "X-Bright". They managed to create a great, cheap to produce for, entertainment system (PS1) and managed to duplicate that success with the PS2-- this thing has so many games I'm probably going to go buy one, even though PS3 has been out for [a while]. Now that Blu-Ray has won, I bet a lot of people will be picking up PS3s instead of other players when they get around to purchasing one.

          All I'm saying is I see Sony as a superb tech producer with simply misguided management.
          • by WindowlessView (703773) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:43PM (#22602218)

            They consistently make high quality tech products. Blu-ray (despite being DRM crippled) will probably be the next CD. I sure hope it is.

            I have no dog in the disk format wars but can Blu-ray's success really be chalked up to engineering? There are stories aplenty about how Sony paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the movie studios to get them to switch. This seems more like marketing (or something more nefarious) than technical excellence and doesn't support your argument very well.

            • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Friday February 29, 2008 @01:00PM (#22602494)

              They consistently make high quality tech products. Blu-ray (despite being DRM crippled) will probably be the next CD. I sure hope it is.



              I have no dog in the disk format wars but can Blu-ray's success really be chalked up to engineering? There are stories aplenty about how Sony paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the movie studios to get them to switch. This seems more like marketing (or something more nefarious) than technical excellence and doesn't support your argument very well.

              Of course not. The important thing is that they weren't pushing a crappy format that was insufficient for our movie viewing needs. Toshiba, on the other hand, would have us adopt a format that can't hold Return of the King in 1080p on one disk.
            • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday February 29, 2008 @03:36PM (#22604712)

              There are stories aplenty about how Sony paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the movie studios to get them to switch.


              AFAIK, what all those stories share is that they lack any evidence or named sources, and in many cases overtly cite the speculation of unnamed "analysts" both on the existence and amount of the payoffs.
          • by Aqualung812 (959532) on Friday February 29, 2008 @02:53PM (#22604106)
            Actually, I see Blu-ray as being the next 8-track and mini-disc. It is a stopgap between DVD and downloadable video, just as 8-track was between LP disc and cassettes and MD was between CDs and MP3.
        • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:30PM (#22602024) Journal

          The entire article is nothing more then the an out of context quote. Cnet heard something they think might sound nicely controversial, plunks it in in an article that seemingly has no goal and watches the ad revenue stream in when as predicted slashdot picks it up, makes an entire story out of one quote and runs rampant with it.

          Personally I think this is all overblown, offcourse Sony who operates at the high end for laptops will call a move for the cheapest laptop a race to the bottom and warn that if this catches on "better watch out", but you note that completly absent from this article is any condemnation of this, neither do they warn consumers about the Eee. He might as well be meaning that those companies who think they can only sell super expensive ones better watch out.

          Oh wait, I am doing it wrong ain't I. Sony is the evil!

      • by The Great Pretender (975978) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:21PM (#22601880)
        And when the race reaches the bottom they'll find Sony there, lounging around in big piles of their failed products, sipping Mojitos.
      • You read the whole thing? You are sooooooooo doomed. While you were doing all that reading, Sony installed a rootkit on your machine.
      • "devoted to the whole 'race to the bottom' thing without explaining exactly why Sony thinks this a problem".

        In early 80 terms: Sony is the TI99/4A and Asus eeePC is Commodore 64. Commodore engaged a price war with TI took TI out of the market. All micro-computers lowered the price at that time.

        I would be worry if I were Sony.
      • by Atlantis-Rising (857278) on Friday February 29, 2008 @01:01PM (#22602510) Homepage
        It seems very clear to me why Sony thinks a race to the bottom is bad. They argue that by forcing manufacturers, who already have thin margins to cut their margins even further by creating cheaper and cheaper commodity hardware, it will limit the likelihood of manufacturers investing in high-margin, high-value, cutting edge hardware- and will therefore limit the development of said hardware.

        As a result, the focus on commodity PCs, like the eeePC, signals a shift away from the accelerating development of hardware and software toward a more stagnant approach.

        I'm not sure I agree. But that's what it seems like Sony is arguing.
    • by Altus (1034)

      generally I agree with you, but I use my laptop as a desktop replacement, its my primary machine, so I spend a bit more money on it than other people do.

      Still, I can see plenty of use for a $200 machine for email and web browsing. In the end I might change my buying habits if the market keeps going this way. Go with a powerful desktop and a cheep laptop instead of trying to get it all in one machine.
    • by Amouth (879122) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:30PM (#22602028)
      i have had the pleasure of using an EEE PC - they are nice.. but leave alot out.. give me one with a nice 1024x768 (atleast) screen make the SSD removeable and replace able with a 1.8in hdd (hell sell them with not SSD's too) and add internal blue tooth.. then we can start.. sure it wouldn't be 300$ at that point.. but it wouldn't be that much more - hell i would love to buy just the shell.. given it has a decent screen and a standard 1.8in drive connection.

      personaly i got a dell d420 with extended battery.. i couldn't be happier.. sure it is only a Core Duo ULV at 1.06ghz.. but it is dual core. and lasts 6+ hours on battery with wifi and bt on and the screen at a nice level.. it is only alittle heavyier than the EEE PC with a lot more power and storage and over all isvery nice.. personaly i use it as a desktop replace ment.. and when i got it the base price was >2k (agree not exactly worth it) but after mixing cupons i got it for 1200$ - very well worth it..

      I agree that i am sick of laptops that can't be used in the lap.. the EEE PC is cute.. and i might get one for my kid in a few years (once i have the kid that is) but untill they get alittle better specs on it.. it isn't going to kill off any good true lap usable laptops
    • There have been lots of laptops between $450-650 there lately.

      The people who spend $2000 do so purely because they want to. I do too, because it's a usually a better machine and one that I use all the time and with the numerous storage options these days, most notably the external drives, - a Desktop replacement.

      The same way a chef may buy a set of knives that cost several hundred dollars instead of a set that cost $50 - because it's worth it to them. The better knives may cut marginally better at first b
    • by Sloppy (14984)

      I don't remember laughing at the idea of a personal computer costing less than $1000. I remember the early 1980s, when $200-$600 was the norm for a roughly-current-tech personal computer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DrVomact (726065)

        I don't remember laughing at the idea of a personal computer costing less than $1000. I remember the early 1980s, when $200-$600 was the norm for a roughly-current-tech personal computer.

        I think you're comparing what was then a toy or curio with today's "serious" computers meant to do real work. What was available in the early 80s? Well, there was the Apple II. One of those would set you back $1300--for the cheapest model, with 4K of RAM(http://oldcomputers.net/pet2001.html [oldcomputers.net]). For its day, that was a serio

    • by netruner (588721)
      I don't understand why people need to buy a computer for email, IM'ing and downloading music. My cell phone will do that - and I don't need to be in a place where I have to buy $5 cups of coffee to do it either.

      I am currently shopping for a laptop - it needs to play and burn DVDs, be able to run Unreal Tournament III, Open Office (as well as any software I can buy at a brick and mortar store) and have a screen big enough for me to do meaningful work or surfing (the cell phone browser is great for mobile
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by holophrastic (221104)
      Actually, I see this is a bad thing. I don't want inexpensive computers. Allow me to explain. When it comes to a disposable product, yeah cheaper is desirable. But a computer isn't disposable unless you use it as nothing more than a dumb terminal. But personally, I use it for research, entertainment, television, and gaming. More importantly, I use computers for business. And for business, inexpensive tools is a very bad thing.

      If you're doing real business on a computer, and you're using it to create
  • The CNET article (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    January 24, 2008 9:49 AM PST
    Eee PC with Windows launches in Japan, U.S. is next
    Posted by Erica Ogg | Post a comment

    Asus launched the first Windows version of its popular Eee PC in Japan on Thursday, according to a report in The Register.

    Called the Eee PC 4G-X, it will come pre-loaded with Windows XP Home Edition. It has the same specs as the original 4G model with Linux introduced last fall: 4GB of storage, Intel Celeron processor, 512MB of RAM, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, and more.

    Eee PC

    The U.S. version of the Eee P
  • Sony already sells most of its stuff for more than their competitors and still stay in business, based on brand, design, and such. I don't see how that would change if machines like the Eee become more popular, except that fewer people will pay $2000+ for the TZ and a lot for their UMPCs.
    • by arth1 (260657) on Friday February 29, 2008 @11:54AM (#22601458) Homepage Journal
      This is slashdot, so we need a car analogy. And indeed, people continue to buy expensive cars even though most people will buy a cheaper car that fulfills their needs instead of going for the top of the line. The influx of cheaper cars (from Japan, I may add!) didn't kill off the top models, although it relegated them to a niche market.
      Similar for laptops -- most people will buy what serves them well, and not splurge on the top models. There's a good market for small, fast /enough/ and affordable laptop computers, and Sony knows this fully well. They have chosen to stick with the upscale market, and shouldn't complain about EEE and similar eating their pie more than Porsche should complain about Nissan eating theirs.

      Regards,
      --
      *Art
      • Using car analogies makes the eeePC more like the Tata Nano. I think the eeePC is wonderful, but it doesn't have enough RAM or "drive space" for my needs. The Apple AIR is insanely overpriced, so I'll just wait... my MacBook Pro does just fine...

        RS

      • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:17PM (#22601810) Homepage

        The influx of cheaper cars (from Japan, I may add!) didn't kill off the top models...

        Not yet but American auto manufacturers are on life support. GM used to be huge. Remember the old saying that what's good for GM is good for the country? Probably before your time. As big as GM was in the day and as small as those upstart Japanese car makers were in comparison, there's been quite a turn around. That in an industry that evolves at a glacial pace.

        The technology market evolves much faster. The technologies that should scare the bejabbers out of the status quo include:

        • Appliance PC's. Sony has good reason to be scared. So does Dell, HP and Lenovo.
        • Mesh networking. Self-discovering p2p networks that don't need a telecomm or service provider to spring to life. This could potentially be as disruptive to the current internet as the internet was to traditional telecomm in the late 80's.
        • Open Source. When you take an overview of MSFT's approach to OSS, it's hard to mask the unmistakable signs of fear. And MS should be afraid of OSS, the same way Dell should be afraid of EEE PC's.
        • Not yet but American auto manufacturers are on life support. GM used to be huge.
          GM also used to make cars people wanted to buy not just rehashed crap.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday February 29, 2008 @11:43AM (#22601280) Homepage
    The EeePC was promised to be around $200.00 and it currently sells for $299.00 most places $399 for the decked out version. nearly TWICE the promised price. all the others come in way WAY over as well.

    Why buy a Eee PC when I can get a Dell cheapie of the moment with 12X the power at the same or LESS price. Last one I got was $369.99 on one of their 1 day sales. I can do way more than the eeepc and saved money.

    I'm for the race for the bottom if the race is sanely priced. right now it's not.
    • by Calinous (985536) on Friday February 29, 2008 @11:52AM (#22601426)
      Your Dell comes with a 15.4" display, better resolution, better processor, more memory, bigger non-volatile storage, a normal keyboard, and maybe other things.
            And weigh three times as much as the EeePC. There is a market for lower performance, light computers.
      • by Lumpy (12016)
        I agree and they should be CHEAPER!

        I only want them to meet their promises. they never do. The history of laptops and Tablets is littered with the corpses of light low power devices that failed to sell more than a few thousand and died. People want them when they are low priced. not when they are the same price or more than a more powerful and slightly larger item.

        If I want something that is the size of the Eeepc that is cheaper and far better I'll grab a dell latitude C400. Tiny thing that is incredib
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The history of laptops and Tablets is littered with the corpses of light low power devices that failed to sell more than a few thousand and died.

          Maybe, but the Eee is hardly in that category. The only doubt is how many million units Asus will ship this year.
      • by blackbirdwork (821859) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:16PM (#22601796)
        And your hard drive will crash if you hit hard your Dell, the SSD of the Eee will not break. (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4dhhl_tests-resistance-chocs-chaleur-froi_tech)
        • by Calinous (985536)
          The solid state drive in the EeePC will work perfectly even after shocks that will crack the case open
      • by gnutoo (1154137) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:27PM (#22601968) Journal

        But they cost 10x as much and, despite Sony marketing assurances, alligator skin is not what people want a laptop to do. EEE delivers almost everything people care about in a laptop for an order of magnitude less than the competition. The reason it's selling for twice as much as expected is because it's a runaway hit and considered a good deal at $400. Used computers of the same weight sell for twice the price but offer only better screen size and keyboard. If they come with Windows, a used laptop does not offer much performance gain, and some significant performance losses, as well as a the usual Windows migration and software install pains. Good for Asus, EEE sells out as soon as they hit the shelves because people who don't care about GNU/Linux want it.

      • And weigh three times as much as the EeePC. There is a market for lower performance, light computers.

        Since when is weight an issue. They already only weigh 3-5 pounds. The problem for me is size. I want something I can fold up and put in my jacket pocket, or otherwise be small. Hell, make me a 15 lb. laptop that (quickly, without a lot of work from me) folds up around my belt and I'll take that.

    • by IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:02PM (#22601604) Homepage
      The big selling point for the EeePC in my case was the size. It's about the size of a paperback, and weighs the same. I can carry it around the office under my notepad to pull up a browser, email, or SSH session whenever I need it. It's replaced a much more powerful Dell and gave me more productivity.
      • by psychodelicacy (1170611) <bstcbn@gmail.com> on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:14PM (#22601764)
        And this is the cool thing - it's a boy magnet! I get it out in the pub or Starbucks or wherever, and attract all those furtive glances that my looks alone sadly never procured for me. I even have some guy come up to me in the pub wanting to try out my Eee. So girls, forget the Apple that says "Hi - I like pretty things and ponies!" Get an Eee instead, and men will fall at your feet.

        Well, okay geeks will fall at your feet, but in my case that's the required demographic...

      • by Xzzy (111297)
        I want one for this exact reason as well. Been too busy/lazy to really research it (and/or get my employer to buy me one).. how well does it function as a "portable thin client"?

        Can I reinstall it to get rid of the easy mode programs and turn it into a simple portable xterm?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by IL-CSIXTY4 (801087)
          I have EeePCLinuxOS on an SD card for a full Linux desktop, but I hardly ever use it. The built-in Xandros has Thunderbird, Firefox, Pidgin, and bash. That's all I need, really. It boots in ~30sec. The built-in SSD shows up as an IDE drive, so you can install whatever you want on it.
        • I want one for this exact reason as well. Been too busy/lazy to really research it (and/or get my employer to buy me one).. how well does it function as a "portable thin client"?

          Wonderfully. It comes with Firefox preconfigured with Flash and other plugins, Thunderbird, Kontact, OpenOffice, and lots of other useful apps.

          Can I reinstall it to get rid of the easy mode programs and turn it into a simple portable xterm?

          Well, ctrl-alt-T gets you an xterm in the default install. You can reinstall if you want (and some people have been putting XP on them), but you might not want to.

          In fact, at the risk of having my geek card revoked: I don't even go into advanced mode anymore. It boots more slowly than easy mode, and easy mode is good enough for me 99% of the time. I'm a huge KDE fan so I expected to hate the basic launcher and "need" the full KDE desktop, but all that extra flexibility kind of misses the point of the Eee PC.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by xoff00 (594043)
          Damn well, with the caveats of a small screen size and small keyboard.

          The "easy mode" is just a customized icewm. A quick hack loads full KDE if you like, but I actually haven't bothered. Ctrl-alt-T brings up an xterm even in easy mode, and I just do everything through that.

          I recompiled the kernel (to support 2gb memory - the hardware supports 2gb but the default kernel only supports 1gb, as it wasn't compiled with large memory support) and installed openvpn and gprs (cell modem) support via an external usb
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Xocet_00 (635069)
        My only major objection to the Eee is the screen resolution. 800x480 is simply too low to be able to comfortably use full-blown internet applications. I'd love to see a slightly bigger WXGA (1280x768) display in there. The current models have pretty wide bezels, so they could 'fit in in', technically, probably at the cost of making the unit a bit thicker so that the support electronics can sit behind the display instead of beside it.

        Anyway, once a model comes out with higher screen res, I'm in!
        • Oh yeah, totally. Don't get me wrong, the EeePC is not going to be someone's primary machine. But it's good for looking things up or checking a client's site. I even use Google Reader on it, although the display is a little cramped. I was really impressed by the experience reading an ebook on it. I need to get xrandr running on it so I can hold it like a book.
        • by Neil Jansen (955182) on Friday February 29, 2008 @01:02PM (#22602514) Homepage
          I use mine daily and don't think the 800x480 is such a compromise. Once you implement some tricks to optimize your window manager and web browser, it's not bad at all. I run web apps like Google Docs, Mail, Calendar, Reader, etc.

          I'm not exactly sure what a 'full blown' internet application is, but I've never ran into anything and been like 'damn, this is totally unusable'.

    • by magarity (164372)
      Why buy a Eee PC when I can get a Dell cheapie of the moment with 12X the power at the same or LESS price

      Going through the tsa goon line these days with the "remove your laptop and put it in its own rubbermaid bin" being such a hassle that a little bity laptop that you can whip out of your bag is a great convenience. Plus the thing only adds barely a couple of pounds to said bag. And depending on which airline you have to use the seats are so crammed together that there's no room to open a 15" la
      • No, I don't think so. I've got a Dell d820 with a 15 in. screen, and I use it on the airlines all the time, and yes, even in coach. It's maybe a little large, but not so much so that I would sacrifice that beautiful screen or better performance to get an Eee PC.
    • by POPE Mad Mitch (73632) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:21PM (#22601872) Homepage

      Why buy a Eee PC when I can get a Dell cheapie of the moment with 12X the power at the same or LESS price.
      Because you, like so many other people, and some of the 'rival' manufacturers miss the point of why this appeals to quite so many people.

      Its fairly cheap, sure, but as you point out its not the best value for money on that score.

      It is because it is also small, and light, at under one kilogram and smaller and a A4 pad it easily slips into a satchel, or messenger style bag that many people carry around these days, making it much more practical to keep with you than a traditional large heavy laptop.

      You can of course buy small sleek laptops with more features, but they tend to cost more, a LOT more.

      Its the balance point of price and size and features that makes it so popular, alter any one of those very far and you lose that unique selling point.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014)
        Personally, I doubt many people buy one of these things as their only device. I don't think it's intended to be your main machine. It may not even be intended to be your only laptop.

        From a market positioning standpoint, this is the most intriguing mobile computing device to come out since the original Palm. At $300, it's priced just at the "what the hell" point where you might make an impulse buy. It is not promising to solve all your problems, nor is it priced as if it did. The value proposition i
    • Why buy a Eee PC when I can get a Dell cheapie of the moment with 12X the power at the same or LESS price.

      I can only speak for why I got one (or more accurately, talked my boss into getting me one). I love it because it's tiny, cheap, doesn't have any moving parts (except a fan that kicks in a small part of the time), and ships with Linux preinstalled. That last one is pretty nice - it means that all the hardware buttons are supported perfectly and everything works with zero tweaking. It also means that all the software I need to do my job is either already installed or an easy apt-get away. Note: yeah, I

    • I think they should be able to make those prices once they ramp up the volume.

      Why buy a Eee PC when I can get a Dell cheapie of the moment with 12X the power at the same or LESS price. Last one I got was $369.99 on one of their 1 day sales. I can do way more than the eeepc and saved money.

      As far as I'm concerned, that amount of power really isn't that important. I'd rather have a computer that's a good fit rather than one that has 20x-30x more power than I need, runs hotter than is comfortable (at idle!) a
    • by Svartalf (2997)
      Heh... Let's compare:

      Dell: Takes 2 or so minutes to come up.
      eeePC: Takes roughly 30-40 seconds.

      Dell: Comes with a hard disk, lots of other fragile parts. Drop it while it's running and it's liable to be toast.
      eeePC: Comes with a smaller but still very usably sized solid state disk. NO moving parts to really speak of.

      Dell: Comes with Vista. You MIGHT get some default apps, but don't bet on it. Bet on buying stuff to make it useful.
      eeePC: Comes with Linux. Comes with pretty much everything you need righ
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pipatron (966506)

      The EeePC was promised to be around $200.00 and it currently sells for $299.00

      This is mostly because of the US economy grinding to a halt. I'm pretty sure that it still costs the same in euros/yuan/whatever other currency was initially projected.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      I can do way more than the eeepc and saved money.

      You could also do way more than either, and save money, if you bought a desktop PC instead...

      It's all a question of size and weight, and the EEE no doubt easily beats the Dell cheapo junk in that category easily.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by digitalamish (449285)
      I bought an EEE a couple of months ago. My job gives me a full size laptop for support, and I still prefer the EEE. I loaded XP on it (instructions come with the laptop), and I can use all of my remote access tools, and access my work machines remotely. I find that I am even taking this think into meetings with me for notes. It boots up in a few seconds, and the battery is good enough for a two hour+ meeting. Interestingly, management is now showing interest in this little device. Combine it with Citr
  • by trdrstv (986999) on Friday February 29, 2008 @11:45AM (#22601306)
    I know it threatens their business model, but the majority of home users would be fine running a Pentium 3 caliber chip with a DVD burner and a big Hard drive.

    Are consumers actually getting to the point where they buy what they need rather than the high end, of what they want?

    Imagine if this were to happen to the automotive industry...

  • Yes there are lot of expensive computers and it is possible to make computers that cost almost nothing. Then again computers with rock-bottom prices usually lack style, have very little R&D put into them and aren't usually the cutting edge.

    You want a good looking computer that peforms well and you can delegate the fixes to the manufacturer? Be ready to pay for it. Anything else and you are doing all the work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pembo13 (770295)
      (MySpace|Facebook) + IM + Firefox doesn't need a $600 USD laptop though.
    • by qoncept (599709)
      I have no idea what point you were trying to make, but "style" made me laugh. I'm going to go buy an iPhone because of how good I'll look with it.
  • by Sick Boy (5293)
    Computing power has been a commodity for a long time now. Companies now have to differentiate and *gasp*! Compete! On product benefits beyond "Windows kind of works on it sometimes." Every industry reaches a plateau at some point, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, for businesses or consumers. Sony still makes decent ultra-portables that actually have some power, which the EEE won't compete with. Apple makes trendy machines with a great caché. It looks bad for the companies that put out crap
  • by wamerocity (1106155) on Friday February 29, 2008 @11:48AM (#22601366) Journal
    First of all, all these little laptops are really cute, but for anything that's not listening to mp3's, looking at pictures, and surfing the internet you are in trouble. Now I realize that this is what the vast majority of computers are used for, but people overbuy what they need because of what they MIGHT do. People buy trucks bigger than what they need so they can occasionally tow a boat - you also buy computers more powerful than what you need because you MIGHT want to want decent quality video clips. You might want to do some video and audio editing, you MIGHT want to keep more than 8-16gb's worth of data on your computer, and you MIGHT want to use the plethora of programs/ features that are found on XP that simply don't work that well or at all in Linux. I don't know about you, but surfing the internet on a 8" screen with a 800 x 480 resolution screen sounds like a nightmare, especially if you are used to even an SXGA. I personally think these are cute little gimmicks, but only time will tell for sure.
    • by blackbirdwork (821859) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:05PM (#22601660)
      Did you use the Eee? It's the perfect device for a mobile world. Well, the internet tablets from Nokia would be the perfect devices but the qwerty keyboard of the Eee puts it in the first place. You can browse, play videos, music, chat, or do everything you need on that little screen. Sure, you won't feel comfortable using photoshop or any application that needs high resolution monitors, but that's not the target of the Eee.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192)
      you also buy computers more powerful than what you need because you MIGHT want to want decent quality video clips. You might want to do some video and audio editing, you MIGHT want to keep more than 8-16gb's worth of data on your computer,

      That's why you have a powerful desktop at home too. If you know that 99% of your computer use is editing text files, reading text files, playing mp3s or snes games then it's a great option. It was not so long ago that an eeepc would have been an amazing computer, even fo
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LocoSpitz (175100)
        The biggest inconvenience is ponying up the extra cash to purchase a desktop and a laptop. Not everyone can afford to have a nice desktop at home in addition to a laptop on the go.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by HybridJeff (717521)
          Well then you're in luck, because an eeePC + decent desktop is cheaper than getting a desktop replacement style laptop.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by (H)elix1 (231155) *
      IT also has an external VGA port - 1680×1050 max support, if you are plugged in and sitting on a desk.

      (still, would like to see 1024 x 768 when they bump up the screen size later this year)
    • by DMoylan (65079) on Friday February 29, 2008 @01:04PM (#22602534)
      > First of all, all these little laptops are really cute

      bullshit! it is really practical. as somebody who travels for about 4 hours every day on public transport i used to carry a 15" vaio laptop. even when i got that i was looking for a smaller laptop. over the 2 years i carried that laptop even though it was carefully packed and surrounded by padding the case was cracked and the harddrive killed by accidents while travelling by bus. even on the mac forums you will find people who want the old 12 inch macbook rather than the current 13 inch version. smaller is better if using public transport/bike/foot.

      > you also buy computers more powerful than what you need because you MIGHT want to want decent quality video clips. You might want to do some video and audio editing,

      i have never needed to edit audio or video. not even at home on my desktop. just something i have never needed to do.

      > you MIGHT want to keep more than 8-16gb's worth of data on your computer, and

      i can plug in my 150gb ipod as an external hd no probs. 32gb sdhc cards are available so it's only a matter of time i reckon before 64gb cards will be available. that's up there with the mac air.

      > you MIGHT want to use the plethora of programs/ features that are found on XP that simply don't work that well or at all in Linux.

      i could install xp on to the eee pc but as it already has firefox, thunderbird and open office 90% of what i need on the road are already there in an os that boots from cold in 25 seconds. a customer who saw my eee pc on wednesday who does powerpoint presentations on the road constantly saw that it displayed his powerpoint files and was half the size and 1/3 the weight and as he uses over head projection he can use the vga port no problems. he was in awe with the size of the power brick which was 1/4 than the usual laptop behemoth.

      > I don't know about you, but surfing the internet on a 8" screen with a 800 x 480 resolution screen sounds like a nightmare, especially if you are used to even an SXGA. I personally think these are cute little gimmicks, but only time will tell for sure.

      well i also surf on the 3" screen on my nokia e61i with no problems so i reckon by now that i'm used to using small screens (i've been using portable devices since the psion series 3a in 94).

      for me the major decider in getting the eee pc was that i could view the 1000s of pdfs i need on a portable device with out having to scroll left and right to see a single line. that it does beautifully.

      i would have gotten a olpc for the battery life and reader mode but they are not available in ireland.

      i'm just glad that somebody is catering for this market.
  • OK, quick show of hands of those who feel sorry for Sony. One guy wayyy in the back. You can put your hand down, sir. Thanks.
  • Mobile world (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackbirdwork (821859) on Friday February 29, 2008 @11:58AM (#22601516)
    I'm a happy owner of the following mobile devices:

    - Asus Eee
    - Nokia 770
    - Nokia N810

    I'd learnt something in these years: we don't need powerfull fat heavy devices, we need smaller and lighter devices, we don't care about power. For power we have fat big desktop computers.

  • Yeah, I know it's cool to hate on big companies. However... /* Presumably by 'we' he means all the hardware manufacturers who sell over-priced, full-fat laptops */

    Over-priced? Maybe. But full-fat? Are you not aware that Sony is one of the few laptop manufacturers who continually pushes the envelope for smaller, lighter, thinner and has been doing so for as long as I've been buying laptops? The 505 series, the Picturebooks, and I'm typing this on a Sony TR1A which is also my multimedia workstation (I ma
  • by mpapet (761907) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:14PM (#22601762) Homepage
    than just this one product.

    1. Take a look at this estimate of who builds laptops for what brand. http://tuxmobil.org/laptop_oem.html [tuxmobil.org] The brands like Sony might change vendors, but the manufacturers listed haven't changed, so re-arrange the check marks if you want to pretend.

    2. Many of the OEM's are marketing barebones laptops which are going to eat into Sony's laptop business in unpleasant ways. MSI and Asus are two notables. http://usa.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=23 [asus.com]

    Talk amongst yourselves....
     
  • Customer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EaglemanBSA (950534) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:14PM (#22601774)
    Perhaps these companies (whether they be electronics manufacturers (Sony) or automotive manufacturers (GM), etc.) need to pull their heads out of their asses with respect to customer research.

    LG did a bit of customer research, painted their washers and dryers red, and quadrupled sales overnight. Toyota made a tiny, efficient car (echo), and sales boomed. Asus made a PC that it figured would sell really well, and they were right, as a result of understanding their customers' CTQ's.

    I love my eeepc because it's exactly what I need. Portable, durable, cheap and linux-based. Sony, Dell and the rest can produce what they want, but when it doesn't sell, it's nobody's fault but their own.
  • Lets make them better and cheaper. The spirit of Jack Tramiel might be living on in ASUS
  • It appears to me that the critical thing to realize about the market in the developed world is that manufacturers are looking for reasons (marketable feature sets) that can be used to sell newer hardware to users who already have older hardware (in this case, new pc's to users of older pc's). Thus they exert strong pressure upon the OS and SW makers to add more and more features to justify the "upgrades". The software vendors do this as well, as otherwise their sale of a application package a decade ago wou
  • Mike Abary's statments remind me of the incredibly stubborn comments from Sony PR regarding the PS3. Nice to see such comments are made from other parts of Sony, not just the PS3 division. Sony's just jealous of the EEE's success, and the potential cut in their profits. "low price" to sony means $1200 for a UMPC or something.
  • Crocodile-skin print on the case, nothing. When Sony makes a machine with a case of recycled aluminum cans, and a keyboard using material from old piano keys and bakelite telephones, then I'll be impressed.
  • by Panaqqa (927615) * on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:46PM (#22602272) Homepage
    Hmm. It seems to me that rootkitting your customer's computers is more like the REAL race to the bottom.
  • by Lordfly (590616) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:53PM (#22602380) Homepage Journal
    I bought one a month or two ago to take with me to classes. I was replacing a heavy-ass Toshiba Satellite, with a 15" screen. That thing was nice, 2-3 years ago, but the damn thing was too heavy to carry around everywhere.

    Enter the eeePC, which comes fairly cheap (mine was 399.99) with Linux pre-installed. It's Xanadros, and I'll admit, I'm a moron, so I didn't want to deal with it. Installing XP was anything but easy... lacking a DVD-rom drive, I had to port it to a memory stick, run a bunch of suspicious looking programs to make the stick bootable, and then run it from there. XP died after installing 4-5 times, 6th time's the charm...

    Anyways, with XP on it, it runs like a champ. All the drivers work out of the box. I think the eeePC is mostly made of commodity hardware too, making it a delicious geek toy. People have put touchscreens on it, soldered more stuff in the mobo, etc.

    Mine's pretty basic, I slapped in an extra 2gb of SD memory and 2 gb of ram, and then overclocked the processor to 900 mhz. Runs wonderfully. The little bastard can even run Second Life.

    I lurve my eeePC. I use it as a replacement for my pen-and-paper notepad.
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Friday February 29, 2008 @01:37PM (#22602934)
      Enter the eeePC, which comes fairly cheap (mine was 399.99) with Linux pre-installed. It's Xanadros, and I'll admit, I'm a moron, so I didn't want to deal with it. Installing XP was anything but easy... lacking a DVD-rom drive, I had to port it to a memory stick, run a bunch of suspicious looking programs to make the stick bootable, and then run it from there. XP died after installing 4-5 times, 6th time's the charm...

      This kind of thing is why Windows will never be ready for the micro-laptop.

  • Earth to Sony: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cerebus (10185) on Friday February 29, 2008 @01:08PM (#22602588) Homepage
    If [Asus's Eee PC] starts to do well [...]

    What [asus.com] do [asus.com] you [reuters.com] mean, [pcauthority.com.au] "if" [engadget.com]?
  • by Guspaz (556486) on Friday February 29, 2008 @01:56PM (#22603192)
    What's wrong with a race to the bottom? Like any other competitive market, it will force companies to innovate to try to provide faster performance at lower prices, driving innovation in the lower end of the market. I, for one, am quite excited.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Friday February 29, 2008 @03:24PM (#22604540) Homepage
    Oh, good, another cycle begins.

    I remember being fascinated by stories of how IBM's top management was afraid of microprocessors, because they sensed from the very beginning how they were a disruptive threat to mainframes. For a while they tried to keep them under control by limiting them to specialized appliances such as word processors and the DataMaster. As I recall, the original IBM PC team was ordered to use the 8088 because they wanted to reserve the 8086 for their high-margin $10,000-and-up devices.

    This is all very reminiscent of the disk drive manufacturer story in Christensen's "The Innovator's Dilemma." It's time for a $100 laptop, but they won't come from the companies making $1000 laptops. They'll come from elsewhere, e.g. the XO, and the mainstream will scorn them as underpowered toys, and they'll find a market among people who want underpowered toys, and as time goes on they'll get more and more powerful and start eating the $1000 laptop-makers' lunch.

    Then someone will introduce a $10 laptop and the cycle will repeat...

    I'm not joking about a $10 laptop. Calculators went from $4000 desktops to $300 palmtops to $5 calculators in blister packs at grocery stores (and free advertising giveaways). And it was a different set of manufacturers at each level. Electromechanical rotary calculators: Marchant and Monroe, IIRC. Electronic desktops: Monroe trying and dropping out, Wang and HP leading. Palmtops: Wang drops out without even trying, HP makes an elegant transition, TI jumps in. Cheap four-function palmtops: HP and TI are out, I'm not even sure who makes them now.
  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Friday February 29, 2008 @03:54PM (#22604950)
    I had the unique experience to go to Japan two years ago as part of an NSF funded research project. When I got there, I was shocked to find that my 15.4" laptop was the biggest in the room. Out of 30 or so people, about a third had Apples, and the other two-thirds had Windows machines, but they were small.

    It wasn't unusual to see the participants carrying their laptops through the halls with the display open, holding it one-handed by a corner, and continuing to type as they went.

    While American laptops tend to be "full fat" beasts (see the 17" one at ZaReason.com, or the 21" mammoth at Dell), the Japanese have embraced smaller, more portable laptops (like the Kojinsha).

    Of course, the Japanese machines weren't as underpowered as the Eee PC is, but I think the Eee PC is a very good first step in getting Americans to let go of their bigger-is-better attitude when it comes to laptops.

    One last comment - my 15.4" laptop is too big to open when I fly coach. The front to back distance is such that it ends up jabbing me in the stomach. My next machine will definitely be 13" or less, no matter what.
  • Translation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by e40 (448424) on Friday February 29, 2008 @04:17PM (#22605264) Journal
    "We are making butt loads of money on PCs right now, and I'd hate to see that come to an end."

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