Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
11/1/2007
10:05 AM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
Commentary
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One Laptop Per (Inner) Child

The Asus Eee goes on sale in the United States this morning. Finally. The Eee is the less-than-two-pound, Linux-based, instant-on, 7-inch-screen, no-hard-disk, $400 laptop that was announced last June. It's been slowly making its way to the States ever since, and I've been tracking its progress by reading reviews from overseas. Now, at last, it's here.

The Asus Eee goes on sale in the United States this morning. Finally. The Eee is the less-than-two-pound, Linux-based, instant-on, 7-inch-screen, no-hard-disk, $400 laptop that was announced last June. It's been slowly making its way to the States ever since, and I've been tracking its progress by reading reviews from overseas. Now, at last, it's here.You can get yours from Newegg.com, and Best Buy is supposed to have them, too. And would I be telling you this if I weren't sure of my place in line ahead of you? My order was time-stamped 4:54:32 AM (that's West Coast time).

Actually (but don't tell my wife) it's the first of two Linux-based, no-hard-drive, etc.-etc. laptops I plan to buy this month. The other one will be the One Laptop Per Child Project's XO laptop, which you'll be able to buy in a twofer deal for $400 on Nov. 12.

My theory is that one of these two computers has be good, and the prices are right, so I'll just buy them both and keep the one that works for me.

The fact, of course, is something rather different. I want a small, lightweight portable. I mean, I really, really WANT one. And I want it RIGHT NOW. So I'm giving in to my inner child (not the first time, my wife will tell you).

There is some justification: I had my heart broken in September when Palm canceled the Foleo. I moped around the house for days, because the Foleo's features looked good and the price -- also about $400 -- looked right. I want a lightweight portable, but I also want a bargain: I haven't been able to talk myself into buying any of the recent ultra-mobile PCs like the Fujitsu U810, with their price points around $1,000.

Not that I'm entirely happy about the price of the Eee. When it was announced at Computex in Taiwan in June it was going to cost $200. When Asus finally set pricing in mid-October there were two models and prices had gone up: a version with 2 Gytes of flash storage with 256 Mbytes of RAM was announced at $299, and a high-end unit with 8 Gbytes of flash and 1 Gbyte of RAM was going to be $399. Then within days things changed again, and the low-end unit was dropped, a mid-range model with 4 Gbytes of flash and 512 Mbytes of RAM was substituted at $399, and the high-end model was pushed into the future (meaning the end of November, according to eeeuser.com). There were a couple of additional models thrown in there, as well, so if you want a lightweight PC as much as I do, maybe one of them will suit you.

But before you order one, check eBay. If I'm not crazy about mine, it will be available pretty quickly.

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