Reflections on the Asus Eee PC

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November 20, 2007 by Mike Chin

Product
Asus Eee PC 4G
Manufacturer
Asus
Market Price
US$399

It's been three weeks since the Asus Eee PC was released for retail sale to a thunderous roar of applause. In the first week of November, reviews and news pieces seemed to spring up on all kinds of media: The usual array of computer hardware and mobile computing web sites and magazines, various "gizmo and gadget" sites, Linux web sites, and even tech columns in the mainstream media. You have to hand it to Asus; they did a great job of getting attention for their new product.


One of many appealing images used to promote the Asus Eee PC

We managed to borrow a Eee PC sample with 4GB flash drive immediately after the launch event and to play with it for a few hours. Just long enough to do a few measurements, run the machine through basic operations and get a general feel for it.

So after such a brief encounter, what can SPCR add to the thousands of words, pictures, and videos that have already been produced for the EEE PC? Mostly, a minor counterpoint to the virtually unanimous praise: The EEE PC is an important ground-breaking product in many ways, but its usefulness really depends on your own expectations.


The Asus Eee PC is dwarfed by an IBM T42 14" monitor 5 lb business laptop.

Asus Eee PC 4G Specifications
Display
7" 800×480 TFT LCD with LED backlight
CPU
900 MHz Intel Celeron-M ULV 353 - 512KB L2 cache RAM; thermally controlled fan cooling
Chipset
Intel 910GML
Graphics
Integrated Intel GMA 900; VGA port (up to 1600×1280 )
Storage
2GB solid state flash drive
Memory
512MB DDR2-400 RAM; upgradeable to 2 GB
Battery
4-cell, Li-Ion, 5200 mAh, 7.4V; ~3.5 hrs battery life
Audio
Realtek ALC6628 Hi-Def 5.1; built-in mic & stereo speakers
Communication
10/100 Mbit Ethernet; 802.11b/g wireless LAN card
I/O
3 USB 2.0, MMC/SD (HC) card reader, Ethernet, mic in, headphone, external power, VGA, Kensington lock slot
OS & other software
Linux Xandros; Open Office and many others.
Size & weight
22.5 × 16.5 × 2.1~3.5mm (8.9 × 6.5 × 0.9~1.4"); 0.92kg


Eee PC undercarriage with battery removed and AC adapter/charger.

Why is the EEE PC important? There are many reasons, but these stand out:

  • It's the world's first widely distributed low power laptop PC, not just for Third World children.
  • It's seems to be a viable for-profit alternative to OLPC.
  • It's the first seriously small eco-footprint PC by a mainstream manufacturer.
  • It's the first really small (UltraMobile - UMPC) yet inexpensive portable PC.
  • It's the first laptop from a major brand to come equipped with a Linux OS.
  • Could it actually be a "computing anywhere device" for everyone?

To expand on these points....



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