I got home from Manchester yesterday to find a parcel containing this little package of digital loveliness. It's my Asus EEE900, pictured above with my horrid digits upon it, and which I have ground on about before on these pages.
The first thing that strikes you about it is just how tiny this device is compared to most lappies; it's really wee, as can be seen above. But for a little thing it does a lot. It doesn't run Windows (although it can be made to) instead preferring the free and very credible Linux operating system. And instead of Internet Explorer there's the Mozilla 'open source' Firefox. There's a music player on board, a full suite of Open Office to do your letters and presentations with and a version of the free photoshop application, the Gimp.
Added to this is the Thunderbird e-mail package which took me three minutes to get up and running with my Pop Yahoo account, as well a suite of games. There's some educational stuff on board relating to astronomy and maths, which needless to say I haven't dared boot yet.
So far so good. How does it shape as a piece of hardware? Well it ain't bad. There's a little keyboard that gives you a satisfactory typing experience once you get used to it and a little touch pad that does the mouse stuff. Reportedly this can behave like an itouch with scrolling and zooming, but not with me so far.
There's a SD card sot which I used this afternoon to upload some some pictures, including the one above, and it's fine; together with three USB 2.0 ports and an ear and mike input jack for skype-ing, or whatever. (There's a skype client already loaded. Ever had a conversation using skype? No neither have I.) A 1.3 mp web cam is fitted above the bright and friendly screen.
Battery life is a tad disappointing; it seems to be an hour and a half from full charge. When i bought a little wireless mouse for it this afternoon the chap behind the counter said he thought longer life versions would come soon. We will see.
There are no full solutions in gadget land, in as much as the 'problem' these things solve are so various, and the fast pace of technology keeps making us ask new and different things from the technology we spend time with. There's no way this is your main computer - 20 gig of storage is nowt these days, and it has no onboard optical drive. But for a little lightweight computer I'll cheerfully take on my travels and do blogging and e-mailing on this really can't be beat.