World wants small, cheap PCs, say makers of small, cheap PCs
Eee by gum
World+Dog wants small, cheap computers, companies making small, cheap computers have claimed.
First Asus, manufacturer of the popular elfin laptop, the Eee PC. According to a DigiTimes report, Asus President Jerry Shen this week forecast that global shipments of small, cheap computers would hit 10m units this year.
In 2009, shipments will jump to 20m units, he said - a 100 per cent growth rate.
Asus Eee PC and friend: desired globally
Chip maker Intel is particularly keen to drive the small, cheap computer market having just launched a line of processors to power small, cheap computers. The company behind the Atom brand recently predicted that the category will see double-digit year-on-year growth over the next three years.
Come 2011, annual worldwide small, cheap computer shipments will hit 47m units, Intel told notebook manufacturers. Through handheld internet devices into the mix, and the total jumps to 100m units, the chip giant said.
No wonder VIA and Intel want in on all this small, cheap computer action.
eeepc - does what it says on the tin
Recently bought one of these gadgets before going on holiday; and I can't sing its praises high enough. The fact it runs Linux is rather irrelevant - everything "just worked" which is nice for a change! All the apps work just fine, and the support and maintenance is no harder than it would be through Windows Update. As a geek I'm pleased to see that does run on something other than Windows, but that was not a factor in my decision to buy it. It is essentially a tool that does what it says it'll do - I haven't felt the usual compunction to install reams of extra stuff on it like I have done on every other PC I've had :)
There is clearly a large market for this sort of thing; ASUS's sales show this, as does the fact that as soon as stock comes in, it sells through pretty quickly. 1Kg in weight is great, physically robust, self-contained (the PSU being an in-plug affair, not the monsters you need to run a traditional laptop) - not really any different to taking a large book with you. And at £220 you really can't go wrong! Think of it as a second PC, perhaps - one you can really use anywhere (garden, living room, kitchen), easily to hand for internet searches etc.
Personally I find the 7inch screen fine, for what the device is supposed to do. There's a 9-inch version coming along in a month or so for those who feel they need it - but it'll be interesting to see if the pricing affects the market dynamics, as its price will be nearer the price of a normal basic laptop.
As a side note - pricing I've seen so far indicates the Linux and XP versions of the 900 will be the same, so MS are presumably keen to get their OS onto the device; they won't want these things becoming ubiquitous without Windows...
But never as an only computer
Very few people are throwing out their full-size laptops and desktops and replacing them with Eee PCs. Instead they fill that slow for another small laptop for the student to carry to lectures, for the kids to play with etc etc.
The price needs to drop significantly before it can fill the slot of "first computer for the cash strapped masses".
Here in NZ I can get a "real" Ubuntu laptop (Acer 4315) for less than an Eee PC. The only thing that the Eee PC has that the laptop lacks is the ultra portability.
All I saw was a lovely bird is all...