A few months ago I wrote about how the Asus EeePC changed the laptop game. By offering a cheap ultraportable they were effectively creating a new market. Instead of catering only to professionals who can afford a tiny $2,000 laptop they targeted kids and homemakers and everyone else who would be willing to spend less than $500 on a bare bones machine with a tiny footprint running Linux on a flash drive. The millions of EeePCs sold proved them right.
But their success goes beyond that. In what will probably be cited as an example in future “Blue Ocean” books, Asus created a new commercial market. What was supposed to be the domain of the OLPC project became a viable product category.
What's good is that the competitors will produce other, perhaps better versions of the concept. So from the ultra crappy Everex Cloudbook to that Neo Explore model that looks like a (*nostalgia alert*) “Speak n Spell,” you have a myriad of choices. Anyone who wants a cheap laptop to throw into a book bag or bring around the house or lend the kids can afford one.
So while I really loved my EeePc 4G, my half year romance with it had to end. It was great but ultimately proved incapable of handling my needs. I wanted to get the new Eees but there were two factors hindering me: price and that damn shift key.
The tiny keyboard I can live with, it's the tiny right-hand shift key that bothers me. As a touch typist I end up pressing the “up” button every time I wanted capital letters. And while the new EeePc 1000 has a bigger footprint, they still didn't fix the shift key: it was still as tiny as the one on the smaller models.
I also found another brand that offered similar specs, a better looking case, and a full-sized shift key for P2000 less. My weapon of choice now is the Acer Aspire One.
At least until the next model comes along.