As everyone's favorite Jedi master has proven to us, time and time again, good things come in small packages. The same can be said about a funny little laptop made by ASUS, called the Eee PC - a fully functional laptop, not much larger than a DVD case, with Linux as it's OS.
I've been hearing - or rather reading - about ASUS's latest entry into the sub-laptop market and became most intrigued. What made me decide to try and track one down for myself was what I came away with after a recent boardroom meeting at the office.
When the meeting was over, I had in my hand a notebook with a couple pages of notes that I had to quickly scribble down, as I watched a fellow co-worker's slide show presentation - in a darkened boardroom, no less. Needless to say, I had some questions when I tried to read my notes afterwards.
During such meetings, some people bring along their full-sized laptops to take notes, but they're noisy (when the room is full of them) and it's a pain to have to disconnect and reconnect the power chord, monitor and USB devices every time I want to take it to a meeting.
So, I thought that the Eee PC would be the perfect tool for the job, not too mention having this cool little Linux device in my clutches in the first place.
Once I decided that I wanted one, I wasn't sure how (or where) I'd be able to find one. I knew that New Egg was selling them, but I wanted to find a distributor in Canada, if I could.
Strangely enough, I discovered that The Source (what used to be Radio Shack) was offering pre-orders of a couple Eee PC models. But, because they were pre-orders, I was concerned if they'd even be shipped any time before Christmas.
Because this is an ASUS device, I took a shot and check my favorite local computer shop, OTV Technologies. I purchased ASUS brand parts from them in the past, so I thought they'd be my best bet. Jackpot! They had them listed in their products list so I headed over to the shop after work.
Selling out of them once already, I was glad to find that a shipment of 5 units arrived that day. Four hundred and eighty coin later (after taxes) and I was in business.
My impression? This is a wonderful little machine, and being a Linux device makes it even more appealing to me.
I took it into the office today and it was the topic of discussion for quite a while. Many people seemed very impressed, and I don't think the remaining four units will last long at OTV. One co-worker thought the Eee PC would be a perfect gift for her son who's attending University. Other people just thought it would be just nice to have a laptop that was much easier to tote around with them. Seeing what came pre-installed on the Eee PC and how easy it was to use, being a Linux device didn't seem to be a barrier at all for them. In fact, they were most impressed with how versatile Linux really was.
The features that got the most attention was the built-in webcam and the voice recognition.
I think that, with more innovative devices like this coming into the market, Linux will finally be able to claim more of the OS market-share as people realize what can be accomplished with open source software.
Good job, ASUS!