No, I haven’t bought a little computer yet. Given that my biggest need for it (note-taking on the move) is all but gone in the summer, I’m content to watch the news and see what happens next. Two articles caught my eye last week. Eric Taub, writing in the New York Times, doesn’t seem to acknowledge that ultras have a market, and neither do his “experts.” Here’s a few of his quotes:
- “This is for people who would have bought a desktop, but buy this to save money,” said Leslie Fiering, a vice president at the research firm Gartner.
- “Why would you want a PC with stripped-down features that make it harder to do your work?” said Benjamin A. Reitzes, a computer industry analyst at Lehman Brothers.
- “This is the world’s first disposable notebook,” said Bob O’Donnell, a vice president at IDC, a computer industry research firm. “This has a value as a kids’ computer,” he added. “At $299, it’s a toy.”
What planet are these folks on? Dear Leslie, it’s not about money. Period. It’s about not having to carry a five pound laptop and a spare battery in a case padded enough to project a $2,500 investment. Benjamin, please show me what’s stripped down about the Eee or other ultras? The Eee uses the same software as my desktop. “It has to be big to be good”–please. And Bob, nice left-handed compliment. Funny, I saw folks writing code on these “toys” at my last conference. Classic system-centered thinking that makes me all the more glad Asus isn’t listening to these numbskulls, but is making and selling a lot of computers.
On the other hand, Mike Elgan documents what folks are actually doing with ultraportables, instead of whining about the small keyboards. Makes sense–just like a mobile phone, get a “free” computer by signing up for a two year contract for mobile broadband, banking, whatever. Where do I sign?