back to article Asus Eee PC gives Sony the willies

It's official: Sony fears the Asus Eee PC. It worries the elfin notebook's low price, low spec approach could cut the bottom out of the laptop business. "If [Asus' Eee PC] starts to do well, we are all in trouble," Mike Abary, a senior VP with Sony US' IT products operation, told Cnet. "That's just a race to the bottom... if …

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Linux

rootkit?

may be there is not a rootkit to run on linux?

nice to see her back!

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Aweh I have a tear in my eye....

No wait its just a piece of dust.

I'm sure ASUS are still making money on the laptop so if Sony can't do that then they should get out of the game. I can't believe they have the gall to come out with claptrap like this, crying because they wont make as much money.

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Re: rootkit?

... and her front!

*Mine's the one with drool down the front*

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Happy

Yayyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!

If true then Sony (kings of hype, over pricing and over specced goods) have finally cottoned onto the fact that people don't actually want bling and a brand, they want something that works, without DRM, without the extra price tag and out the box without upgrades.

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Bronze badge

Upgrade time?

I suspect that Microsoft's woes have had a lot to do with this as all the negative press will have encouraged people to pause and think do they need to upgrade or is their current kit doing the job?

Corporate customers haven't bought into the Vista/Office2007 in anything like large enough numbers and the console battles are distracting the Gamers.

As soon as people stop to think then a whole raft of other places to spend their money pops up including the ever rising 'cost of living'. I have had arguments with many techies who seem to think latest is greatest but 90% or more of users need little more than a typewriter with a browser and a calculator and the Eee fills that gap very well.

Expect to see a lot of manufacturers offering minimal-spec beasts with minimal pricing as the only significant feature to start appearing is solid-state hard disc replacements.

Of course this all assumes that no-one is about to launch a daylight visible 3D holographic display for laptops.....I wish

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I've been telling people for years...

...that a computer that was good enough for writing documents 5 or even 10 years ago is just as good as writing documents today. Do they listen? Not really.

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It's not Sony who should worry...

If the Eee lets punters try an alternative to Microsoft and Apple's high-priced hardware/software model, why wouldn't they then think hard about the full desktop environment as well? (a low cost Asus desktop using the same applications as the Eee plus other goodies as well?)

This could be the killer-app that Linux and "Open Source" has been waiting for to get the mainstream consumer's attention.

There's nothing to stop Sony and the other manufacturers from doing the same as Asus, unless they have some sort of contract with Microsoft for operating system exclusivity (like Dell have/had).

It won't destroy Microsoft, but it will certainly worry them that a "PC" with none of their software on it is getting so much attention.

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Stop

And cue...

"I'd like to give HER the willies" comments ad nausea.

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Anonymous Coward

Trouble

"If [Asus' Eee PC] starts to do well, we are all in trouble"

Starts to do well? Given that the Eee seems to be flying off the shelves everywhere I'd confidently say "Yes, you are all in trouble".

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Alternatively

Sony, Apple and the rest could start advertising their laptops using similar scantily-clad loveliness.

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I only just twigged...

...that the Reg finds any excuse to wheel-out the photo of the lass on the beach. Clever marketing. I'm not complaining, though...

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OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

Every single time an article contains the word Sony, someone has to think hes clever and post 'rootkit'.

Its not big and its not clever. Just stop it now, it makes Baby Jesus Cry.

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eee pc girl

"nice to see her back!"

and her front!

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oxo

Ya, but it's an Asus

It'll be in the bin in 6 months. My Sony TR-MP5 is still going strong after years of use.

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Stop

Sony's mini laptops

Sony's 11 inch laptops cost over £1k. They cram a lot of the latest technology into those - and they're still underpowered compared to the larger laptops, as they will always be.

Asus have realised that you don't have to put the most expensive new parts into such a tiny thing for most people - they're happy with enough for web browsing and reading email - which is what these laptops are most useful for anyway. I know that I plug my 12" laptop into a big screen if I want to do real work on it.

Why can't Sony compete? They can make the chassis of their 11" machines cheaper, make new boards with cheap chips, downgrade the displays. Are they saying they'd rather not? If Asus are making it possible to buy cheap, usable mini laptops, there's no point moaning about it.

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Paris Hilton

"We are all in trouble"

No only you and the other "top end" over priced manufacturers who use James Bond et al to sell products which lost their value for money long ago.

Nobody can justify that price for laptops anymore, no matter how good looking they are.

Paris? Because she can afford it...all.

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Joke

I thought you were talking about Apple

'(kings of hype, over pricing and over specced goods)'

But then realised it said OVER not UNDER spec'd goods!

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Sony in 'Rip-Off' Shocker!

This is hilarious. Sony do make decent kit, that's undisputed, but what is also undisputed is the fact that it is also very expensive, far more so than it is really worth. I've been buying PCs and laptops for years, and have never bought a Sony because they simply aren't good value compared to the competition. Maybe the Eee PC will force them to get with the programme a bit? On the other hand, it's Sony, so they'll do what they bloody well please - sod the consumer. They should be happy they won the Blue-Ray/HDDVD war. I'm sure there's more money to be made out of that than pushing tin.

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Paris Hilton

Not a race for the bottom

Sidestepping any remarks about bottoms, what should be giving Sony the willies is not the fact that there may be an inexpensive laptop on the block: it is that there's an acceptable appliance in a laptop form factor on the market.

At the moment there are, frankly, a lot of people who have Macs as a fashion statement, and do little more than email, surfing and word processing. At the moment, the early adopters are mostly people who also have a "full fat" laptop as well, but the potential for non geeks to discover that their next laptop could be an inexpensive and trendy Eee (or the equivalent which will doubtless be coming from other makers) *should* be scaring the laptop makers.Hell, I'd give my kids one of these to take to school, and then they could do anything which really needs Winders on the desktop at home. And it's not a PC out of the box, which is the key feature.

But the phrase "race to the bottom" still bothers me. Will the others try to complete by producing ever cheaper Windows laptops? Will they persuade MS to produce software pricing for the sub-laptop market to compete with free?

Would Paris see an Eee as a fashion accessory?

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Paris Hilton

rootkit

I completely forgot about the sony rootkit. I thought the rootkit reference was more of a carnal nature related to the beach photo. Silly me.

I am considering getting a pair of these (machines, silly!) for my gradeschool kids. Add wireless kb/mouse and monitor and you have a perfect package.

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Ian

In other words...

"Please don't let the average joe realise we've got a great scam going selling them expensive hardware that they don't actually need to check their e-mails and write word docs"

People forget that we've been checking e-mails and writing word docs since 486s and even earlier without any problem. Whilst there are of course new features now the obvious point is that you don't need a high spec computer to do the things 75%+ of users want to do with their computer.

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Happy

@but it's an Asus

Re:"It'll be in the bin in 6 months. My Sony is still going strong..."

Wish I had the same experience. All my Sony stuff has broken down just after the warrenty expired (or before in the case of my PDA) My Asus stuff, in contrast, is still going strong. Definitely a case of YMMV.

Nice to see Ms Eee again.

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Limitations?

"Ever more bloated apps and operating systems have helped, as they've exposed the limitations of older systems."

Er, surely it's the older systems that have exposed the limitations in the bloated apps and OS'?

Mine's the one with the optimised code...

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@Dave Hayward

You are partially correct: Sony are big but they are indeed not clever.

And we'll stop mentioning the rootkit just as soon as they publish full instructions on how to remove their foul, PC-raping DRM device without downloading more of their questionable wares.

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Heart

rule n1 of reg club

every time thoust mentions asus, though must bung that picture up again. Lovely stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Asus

Never had a problem with any asus products not lasting the game (unlike D*ll products from hell!)

admittedly havent got my hands on teh eepc yet to assess its longevity potential from an engineeering perspective.

it will be interesting to see what the pricing and performance of the new HP mini lappie will be, that could scare sony even more !!

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Alien

Sony has nothing to worry about

as long as the ASUS support remains the way it is. Support is poor and the website is extremely slow. It will put a lot of people off.

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There's a Linux subnote from HP/CPQ on the way?... imagine that!

The EEE is great for some folks but outside geekworld it's probably near invisible, and as already noted, on the shelves its near invisible too.

You couldn't really say the same for a similar concept product from HP with high visibility promotion through a suitable channel and high volume manufacturing from HP's ODM of the week. The channel probably wouldn't be PC World etc 'cos they like generous laptop-style margins (as of course do *most*, but not all, of HP), so whose name is in the frame? Someone like Craphone Whorehouse ??? (look, I said high visibility, not necessarily good, OK?). If not them, who? Asda/Walmart???

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/02/19/hp_compaq_2133_spied/

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I've got an eeePC

And once I hooked it up to my external keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, etc. I didn't notice a vast difference in officey-stuff usage over my uber gaming rig. Except that the Asus was silent.

Pretty much gaming is all I'll need the gaming rig for (the Asus has an Intel graphics chipset so it doesn't support Stereoscope). well, that and video editing and anything else processor intensive.

The eeePC needs a touchpanel and bluetooth and then it'll be just about perfect for 'normal' people to use.

Sony needs to be worried; simple, small, cheap, reliable computing is what the majority of people want. And it's what they're going to buy now its available.

Also I can foresee businesses following suit; all my work files are on the network or on USB sticks so there's no security risk giving people laptops and no problems with small hard drives, it'll lower their power bill, and they can be used on the move!

Apple should be less worried as their fans don't care about performance, technology, etc, just the "image" and "style" inherent with Apple products. And these aspects won't really be affected by the eeePC style computers.

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Poor Sony lovers

"has long depended on punters' desire for more performance"

Surely, "has long depended on encouraging punters' desire for more performance"

You Sony lot are as bad as the Apple lot ;p

I mean, c'mon, Sony sell overpriced bling, always have. (not that the quality isn't good, it is)

You can get exactly the same performance in something wrapped up slightly differently for considerably less.

oxo, how you ever arrive at the conclusion that an Asus product will be in the bin in 6 months, I've no idea. I've used Asus products for the last 10 years and have never once been let down. Perhaps you're unfortunate?

It's great that Asus don't try and pull the wool over their customers eyes, and if people can buy a £200 desktop that satisfies their computing needs, what's wrong with that? Are you saying that we should continue to subsidise these huge corporations because their profits aren't big enough already?

You guys are marketers wet dreams.

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Coat

Race to the bottom

hhuuhh, hhhuuhh, nnnnn, he said bottom, hhhuuhh.

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Seen in the wild

last weekend I saw a young couple, looking fairly ungeeky, surfing with the EEE in a Glasgow City centre shopping centre and saw someone else using theirs on the local train.

people may notice and wonder

and get their own

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Paris Hilton

I'd never noticed...

Till I actually looked today, at how obviously fake looking that image is.

Paris, because she'd never fake it.

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"We are all in trouble"

A most revealing comment. Clearly shows that Sony is unable to compete with Asus. Also shows that Sony sees itself unable to compete with Lenovo, even tho both like premium price machines. I think Sony getting involved with Hollywood has turned them into wussies.

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Anonymous Coward

The longer I use it

the more I like it (Eeepc 4G that is) but what does Sony have to do with that they don't care about my market segment (dirt poor) why should they cry over this.

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Paris Hilton

L'Addition

"Starts to do well? Given that the Eee seems to be flying off the shelves everywhere I'd confidently say "Yes, you are all in trouble"."

If only it was easier to get hold of - I reckon part of the reason it's flying off the shelves is that it's in such short supply. According to that handy website it's out of stock all over the place AGAIN. Damn you Asus.

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That's progress for you

I just bought a reprint of one of the world's earliest atlases (circa 1665) for £12.50 (reduced price at Waterstones). An original copy made on an early printing press is estimated to have cost the purchaser the equivalent of around £10,000.

My new Pay-As-You-Go 3G mobile with 2Gb flash memory, mp3/mp4 playback and 3.2Megapixel camera cost the same as my first b&w screen speech and text only basic mobile did ten years ago (about £90).

Soon all laptops will cost either under £300 and run M$ or will cost over £700 and run MacOS - the technology is now so cheap that it is difficult to justify buying a mid-range laptop.

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OOPS!

Just dropped my eee taking it out of my drawer here at work. Strangely enough, I didn't have to toss it in the bin! Why, it still works! And nothing broke!

Really, calling ASUS stuff crap is silly. They make good kit and have for years. I can't see my eee NOT lasting a good 5-10 years.

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Linux

Had a Sony once....

A Vaio something or other ultraportable with a 10" screen. The first unit was DOA, the second had badly fitting parts and multiple dead pixels. Sony support was brain dead. Sold it within a year and was told by the purchaser that the $600 battery died within a couple of months.

My current ultraportable is the Eee and it works just fine. I also figure I can buy 4 or 5 of these for the price of a (now on Sale) Sony UMPC. Sony has good reason to be worried.

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Anonymous Coward

Sony can't compete with Asus..

..because it sources all its kit from Asus.

Which is why it's stupid to say Asus laptops are unreliable when Sony ones aren't

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She's back!

Yeay!

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Linux

epenis

Its all to do with street cred , e penis , geek factor , show off to your mates.

Think about the mobile phone market. My 10 year old brick phone makes the same phone calls as an iphone. But people still buy the iphone because its cool (or not) and only use it for phone calls.

Tux , cause he loves your for your software not your HARDware.

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Live and Learn

eee - Got one, love it!

Sony can learn... or not. It's up to them.

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Paris Hilton

@observant AC

It is faked!! And obviously a pre-production mock up as the shape is all wrong.

Nooo, not Ms Eee, who's shape looks just right!

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Anonymous Coward

RE: I'd never noticed...

I noticed there was some fakeness going on the first time I looked at it. I thought it was just the camera at first, but the more I look at it, the more the actual eee seems to have been 'plopped' into the scene too.

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J
Black Helicopters

Flying off the shelves...

I've read somewhere (I believe it was not here on The Reg) someone saying that this shortage of Eees is partly the STORE's fault. I don't know if the guy was telling the truth, but here it goes: he says he went to some store (sorry, don't remember) and asked a salesman for the Eee. The salesman said they were out of stock, but they had this other one, just a bit more expensive, etc. The buyer insisted and asked the sales guy to please check the inventory in the computer there just in case, since her really wanted the Eee. The buyer then looked on the screen as the search was going, and made a point of letting the sales guy know he was looking too. The buyer says there were actually about 40 Eees in stock. So he went home as a happy new Eee-owner...

I wonder if this is true, and could some enterprising tech news outlet investigate? (nudge nudge wink wink) The story sure makes some sense; I would think the stores would prefer selling the bigger profit margin (?) $1500 kit they have accumulating dust, instead of letting people discover the much cheaper ones fulfill their basic needs...

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Go

Justified

I own many Sony branded items: a PS2, a PSP, a Walkman MP3 player. When I entered the laptop market, I looked first at Sony, as I wanted an ultraportable. Then, after reading review after review, I settled on the Eee. Bought mine from Newegg.com, just got it yesterday.

Based on the quality of this machine, Sony's fears are justified.

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