Asus managed to pack a complete PC in a super small form factor, a device weighting just 900 grams. It’s on sale in Taiwan for about 250 euros in its full featured version, with a 7″ screen, 4 GB flash drive, 512 MB ram, SD card slot, a great webcam, three USB ports and running a customized Linux OS booting up in less then 20 seconds. Soon it’s going to come in a Windows version and some people were also able to install Mac Os X on it.
The system runs Firefox, Skype, OpenOffice and some great multimedia apps like Amarok and other media players for videos and photos. It’s a device built for Internet surfing and Firefox runs great on it, as do all the most popular web applications. The screen is very small but still usable and you can attach an external monitor and mouse to use it more comfortably.
People are going crazy for this device all around the world and it’s already at the top of the wish list on Amazon and CNET. In two weeks since its launch in the US, Asus has already run out of stock, same thing in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Germany. They plan to sell 3 to 5 millions in 2008. The most interesting thing about this little PC is its incredible price which combined with its small weight and ease of use makes it a great device for kids and students and a perfect gift for Christmas (everybody here at FON seem to want one). FON is in talks with ASUS to make accessing FONspots with an Eee PC really quick and easy.
The Nokia N810 is the successor to the geek’s favorite N800 Internet Tablet. It’s a thin and light mobile device with a huge touchscreen and a sliding keyboard. It’s built to fit nicely in your pocket and has almost all you’d ask to such a device: WiFi, webcam, integrated GPS, 2GB internal storage and a SD slot. It’s a great device, no doubts about it, although its sale price makes it a lot less interesting and groundbreaking when compared to the Eee PC. It runs the new Internet Tablet OS 2008 Linux distribution, based on Maemo, and runs a great Mozilla browser with Flash and Ajax, a mapping application, a media player and will ship with Skype and other Internet telephony applications preinstalled.
It’s an open source platform and there’s a community already at work developing great applications for it. Anyway I think there’s still some work to do for Nokia: installing applications on these devices is something a geek could do quite easily, but not the same can be said for common people. Applications take some time to launch and don’t run smoothly as on the iPhone: it’s a computer-like experience which we are familiar with, but I don’t think this is how a mobile device should work. Nokia also keeps leaving these devices without 3G connectivity, nonetheless they are competing with Apple and RIM for the same limited space in my pockets. My iPhone and BlackBerry keep me always connected, Nokia instead asks me to bring two 500 euros devices with me to get Internet everywhere I go (the N810 and N95).
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