08 January 2008

A Toshiba Libretto for the 00s?

And so to technology... I was flicking through Linux Format magazine today (somebody has to) and read a very positive review of the Asus Eee laptop.

For those who don't keep up with this sort of thing, the Eee is a very cheap, small and light laptop which runs Linux as the default operating system (although it is capable of running Windows), has a 4 Gb flash drive instead of a hard drive, a 7 inch 800x600 display, a built in webcam, and weighs only about 900 grams. As a concept it reminds me a bit of the Toshiba Libretto which was a 'sub-notebook' PC of similar size and weight from just over a decade ago; the main selling point of the Libretto was that, unlike the other sub-notebooks of the time, which were jumped-up PDAs, it was fully capable of running Windows 95. A good mate of mine who was very active in the IT industry at the time, bought a Libretto in about 1997 and says that it 'saved his ass' on more than one occasion. The Eee has much of the feel of the Libretto about it - except that, at £220, it is MUCH cheaper than the Libretto, even relative to current laptop prices (if I remember correctly the Libretto was about the same price as an average-spec full size laptop of the time.)

Anyway these things seem to be flying off the shelves - they're out of stock at most of the main online stockists (scan, dabs etc.) Given that you're effectively getting full PC functionality for not much more than a well-specified iPod, it's starting to look very tempting... certainly more exciting than an iPhone IMHO.

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