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2008 Should Be Year of the Ultraportable

2008 Should Be Year of the Ultraportable

I earlier wrote how ultraportable notebook computers can be a blogger’s best friend. I’ve been carrying my Asus Eee in my bag most anywhere I go, and I use it to do some work while waiting for the kids to finish their preschool classes, or when the wife goes grocery shopping. An ultraportable plus a public hotspot (or 3G connection via my mobile phone + Bluetooth) can do wonders.

It’s definitely a wonder how computer manufacturers these days have made these small gadgets so inexpensive and hence so ubiquitous with the gadget-crazy crowd. Sure, $100 PC was yesterday’s news, and the creators weren’t even able to meet the target price point (meant for students in developing economies). But what made ultraportables popular is their relatively low price point and availability to the general public. At about $300 to $400 each for a full-fledged portable computer, who wouldn’t bite? And so Asus had started a trend back in October of last year. This year, a lot of other manufacturers have followed suit with their potential Eee-killers (so to speak), which should make a lot of people happy, whether blogger or not.

There’s the HP 2133 Mini Note, touted as the “rich man’s Eee” with its classy styling and almost full-sized keyboard. This is one machine you wouldn’t be shy to take out of your bag at any high-end cafe. And according to reviews, the keyboard is a wonder to use. Perfect for posting lengthy blog entries, I think. The only gripe with the Mini Note is its use of the VIA C7 platform instead of an Intel one. Reviews say performance is not stellar, especially the editions that run Vista.

Acer has announced the Aspire One, and Dell has its upcoming Latitude E Series. MSI has its Wind, and even Asus had recently launched its EeePC 901 and the soon-to-launch 1000 series. These all run on the Intel Atom platform, which promises to give users five to seven hours use in between charges due to very low power consumption. That should be a big plus factor. None come close to the HP in terms of styling and design though–the keyboard is the HP’s killer feature.

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There are a handful of other computer manufacturers who have showcased their own ultraportable offerings, whether these in the form of ultra-small computers or larger, but very slim and ultra light ones. Competition is tough, and it’s good in that computer makers are forced to price their offerings competitively.

With the influx of inexpensive ultraportable computers this year, there is no doubt that both professionals in the new media business and casual users alike would enjoy the wide array of mobility tools. And I think the term “ultraportable” should earn its place as one of the relevant words this year.

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