Itty bitty PC’s – not quite right

Now with the common availability of wireless internet connection over 3G phone networks having a portable computer is now feasible for many people there seems to be a dearth of decent portable computers to suit my needs

Things like the eeePC from ASUS seem almost ideal but there are a few issues with it ? slightly too small and horrific battery life. If the keyboard and screen resolution were a little better and the interface had a tad more polish (to suit the limited screen real estate) it would be damn near an instant purchase; but its biggest holdback is the battery ? 2-3H battery life, one would assume quite a lot less when driving something the huwei E220 USB 3G/HSDPA modem.

Now both Intel and VIA have released their next generation mini-mobile CPU?s (Atom and Nano respectively) performance and battery life should be improved in these devices the Atom being the most interesting of the two CPU?s ? hyper threading and SIMD instructions included but out of order execution has been dropped – it will be most interesting to see how such things are supported by software. Nvidia?s Tegra is very interesting an ARM based solution complete with OpenGL-ES support and a tiny power consumption footprint. One could conceive a decent portable device could be constructed based on this platform (the current non-3G iPhone is based on something with a similar architecture).

However my needs are pretty simple ? I want a portable device with a reasonable screen (1200×800 pixels), reasonable keyboard for the fat fingered amongst us and fantastic battery life when used with a USB modem. I think drivers will be Tegra?s limitation and price will limit the adoption and acceptance of the Atom and Nano platforms, only time will tell ? I think manufacturers have overlooked the reason that people have flocked to the eeePC, yes it is partially form factor but overall it is price I think there is a whole market segment between eeePC and subnotebooks (Vaio, Lenovo X300, MacBook Air) where people want some of the functionality of these subnotebooks, but not the prices attached to them.

** Addtion – whinge and you shall receive – seems the eeePC1000 may suit my needs – depends on final cost I suppose which looks like it might be going up.

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