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back to article Asus to take fight to tablets with cheap Google netbook

Eee PC maker Asus will launch a dirt-cheap netbook this summer in a bid the eke out out market share before the tablets take it all. So say industry moles cited by DigiTimes. The mystery machine will be out in June and cost "$200-250", which is £124-155 in real money. The snag, of course, is that you can already pick up past- …

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Linux

Here we go again.

The 'Small Cheap Computer' never really came to light, the EEE PC 701 Came close, really good effort, but nothing since, the idea showed great promise, but nothing really came of it, I think that what the Industry considers 'Cheap' is different to that of the 'Consumer' sadly, £200 is a lot of money these days, and with things the way they are now, its the choice between, paying bills and necessities and buying a new laptop, if they are going to call it cheap, it really needs to be cheap!

Or here is an idea, just worry about putting out the hardware and let the buyer choose what OS to stick on it, and save a few more £'s?

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£200 is cheap for a computer!

I agree that people have more pressing concerns than updating their computers these days but laptops still fail. The solution for your average end user (i.e. not Reg readers) is buy a new one.

I fancy Asus to make a real go of this - to be Android's iKiller. It'll need to be as good and much cheaper. It can and will be done - and I'll still want a keyboard ;o)

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title

I suppose they mean "cheap in comparrison". It's a shame as it showed you could get a lot of kit for very little. I really want another netbook as my oooold Aspire one is showing its age and would readilly snap up something super cheap and slap Linux on it.

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Thumb Up

Small Cheap

Yep, small cheap computers came out but they managed to "improve" (well, for them) the design by fixing the cheap part.

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Paris Hilton

What about the ads?

If they bring the EeePC girl back, I think they ve got a chance.

Paris? well, slim and cheap, just like a netbook should be

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All for it...

Atom or Arm.

Just make sure:

1) RAM and HD are accessable to expansion

2) If not, just be a little generous. 2 gigs of ram at least and a decent sized SSD. I know they can't be large to be cheap but is 16 gigs asking for too much?

3) driver support for anyone wishing to boot an arbitrary linux of their choice.

4) at least an 8hour battery endurance.

5) Keep up the standard with the keyboards. They seem to be quite good across the Eee line at present.

Would be nice to have:

1) Nice matte screen, capacitive touch if possible but look, if it's cheap this is not likely is it?

2) 12 hour battery.

3) Arm , like a Tegra versus Atom for a change, but like I said, a decent Atom config would be ok.

Something like a Tosh AC 100 with more ram, and a nice decent SSD and easy linux support would be what I'm looking for, bottom line.

I'd pay that and up to double that price, Asus.

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What the hell

Do you need 16GB of RAM for (on a notebook)? My 4GB desktop never runs out of memory using Ubuntu, no matter what I throw at it.

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@James Hughes 1

I think the commenter meant a 16GB SSD.

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@James...

SBD was talking about having 16gb of SSD storage, not 16gb of RAM.

In any case, while the netbook form factor still has its place, I would have expected hardware manufacturers to be looking at hybrid netbooks - i.e. netbooks with a rotatable touch screen.

There are a few such beasties out in the wild, but they tend to be both expensive and underpowered - and arguably, most are too large - they're competing directly with the iPad but are heavier, have shorter battery lives and don't offer the same ease-of-use.

What I'd love to see is something similar to the old Psion 3C design - big enough to enable easy thumb typing, small enough to be kept in a coat pocket. But with a swivelling touch-screen.

The Openpandora handheld comes close (but doesn't have a swivelling screen) and there's at least one Chinese OEM device which comes closer (e.g. the bPhone - http://chinagrabber.com/5-0-inch-touch-screen-quad-band-cell-phone-w-180-degree-rotate-screen-gps-wifi-java---bphone-arm-linux-2-6.aspx) but it's expensive and appears to be running a proprietary version of Linux.

Unfortunately, I suspect I'm in a minority when it comes to form-factor preferences. C'est la vie...

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Fight?

I don't understand this made-up netbooks versus "tablets" war. They're both the same kind of thing. We don't divide the phone market into whether they have a physical keyboard or not (or indeed, whether they have a touchscreen). You might as well separate devices into whether they have a webcam or not.

Trying to make it into some kind of war makes no sense either - there's nothing stopping companies producing both netbooks and "tablets", so it's not like one winning means other companies losing.

If they're releasing a dirt cheap netbook, I suspect they're setting their sights on other netbooks just as much as "tablets" (possibly more so, since "tablets" are often more expensive). Oh, and you can already get Android netbooks.

"This time round, thanks to smartphones, ordinary buyers aren't so fazed by non-Microsoft operating systems."

That doesn't make sense either - smartphones (and phones in general) were around, and popular, back then, and years earlier too.

It's not clear to me why Linux on netbooks lost out. But I don't think it's a software issue, as netbooks were sold, like "tablets", as simply "Internet and app" devices, not full PCs. Explanations include:

* People confused by Linux. It's not clear to me why this should be the case (Ubuntu is pretty good these days), but possibly there were still problems. Cut-down operating systems like Android have less complexity to them.

* Some of us do want Windows you know - and we still do. These people didn't want Linux netbooks, but they still don't want them, and won't get a phone-OS based "tablet" or netbook either.

* Marketing muscle from Microsoft - along with media hype. Linux has no company pushing for it. Android and IOS have Google and Apple respectively - along with the disproportionate amount of hype that they get in the media, which Linux never got.

@Leona A: The netbook is the small cheap computer. How is it not? No, it's not as powerful as a full blown desktop, but that's an unreasonable expectation. Plus ultra-portable laptops are these days small and cheap too, but very powerful, so why don't they count either?

Unless you mean really cheap, as in sub-£100. But I'm not sure that people have ever claimed this was coming? (And if you're going to look at historical prices, e.g., the price of some of the cheap 8-bits, do remember to take inflation into account.)

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FAIL

Umm...

"It's not clear to me why Linux on netbooks lost out."

Perhaps because the distro they were shipped with were c**p and few (if any) of the alternatives worked out of the box.

<asbestos>

allegedly some did - for some machines - sometimes - but for the average Joe - who has even less understanding of a Linux geek's love of a command-line than said geek has for their loathing of one) by the time it got sorted it was too late. The word was out and the damage done.

</asbestos>

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Ultimate Tablet

Imagine if there was a tablet available with it's own keyboard attached. You could have the convenience of a real keyboard coupled with the portability of a tablet. Even better if the keyboard could fold up against the tablet screen like a book, protecting the screen when not in use.

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Anonymous Coward

How about the Asus Eee Pad Slider?

http://www.reghardware.com/2011/03/15/preview_tablet_asus_eee_pad_slider/

Reviewed in these very pages earlier this week - if the Eee Pad Slider ends up being sold out of Morgan or Laptops Direct at £100 or something, I'd snap one up, but cash is pretty tight these days...

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Troll

How about the Asus Eee Pad Slider?

How about the Lenovo ThinkPad T[whatevernumberthey'reuptothesedays]?

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Happy

Small and cheap and OK

The original EEEPC really caught my attention but I found the screen too small and held out for the second generation.

When they came out I bought my daughter an Asus 900a with Linux She was delighted with it and has used it almost constantly ever since, the original xandros is still in use, there were a few issues with the EEE Store at first, in that it did not actually work, but that got fixed, not sure if its still there though, I have had to reset to the original setup once,using the inbuilt restore function and reinstalled Firefox a couple of times.

The Harware has proved to be first rate she has dropped it running several times without problems, the sound is far superior to my Acerone of the same age, she's used it so much that I have had to repair the power plug about six times but thats down to her not keeping the wire reasonably straight, no problems with the power supply though despite it being shorted out several times.

Regarding the Linux, kids did seem to want to run MS paint and the original MSN, but since Facebook has come along I haven't heard that one

All in all a good buy,

The next generation with Android should be even more kid friendly due to the improved games situation.

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Anonymous Coward

FX

<quote>"$200-250", which is £124-155</quote>

Maybe if you're buying currency.

If you're buying electronic consumer goods, $200-250 is £200-250.

You can buy a full sized budget laptop for £300.

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Unhappy

Hm...

Don' know, I'm skeptical about this one. They killed the thing once, and now they want to resurrect it to kill it again?

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Asus misses the point or do they?

Does Asus really care if it is a netbook or a tablet? With the eeepc701, the OS was a shamble and the form factor didn't fit much of the UI Their whole approach was the hardware and not the software.

Did it really matter to Asus though? They are still selling the hardware and software support is probably going to cost them more than they can earn from it. Well it seems it does matter. With Android or chrome OS, there is that software base they can tap into, plus a light, actively developing OS to suit.

Still, it sounds like another flog and forget approach from Asus.

posted from my eeepc701 running puppy 5.

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Anonymous Coward

Real Money

"The mystery machine will be out in June and cost "$200-250", which is £124-155 in real money."

Oh come on. We all know that if it sells for $200 in the states it will be £200 in the UK.

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