Sunday, February 17, 2008

Should I get the Asus Eee PC?

In the discussion thread for a recent 1SRC Editorial, My Mobile Companion, a few readers asked why I still pine for a Palm Foleo and not just get an Asus Eee PC?

The long and short of it is that I'm just not convinced about the software. Yes, I know that I can run Windows XP or Vista on it, but I'll have to purchase a new license, and that will drive up the costs.

I like the idea of this form factor. But I'm just not sure about the software. My main use for a Treo and a keyboard, or the Foleo, was the ability to use DataViz Documents To Go for notes and document creation and editing. If I had Windows and Office (another license I'll need to buy, further driving up the cost of a Eee PC) I could do all of the same tasks as a Treo and keyboard or the Foleo.

I guess it all really comes down to personal choice.


Ben Combee said...

So far, in my own use, the Eee is about 80% of what I wanted the Foleo to be, and does much more than the Foleo as configured back in the summer. Many apps let you run them in a full screen mode, and you can configure things to be really quick to use. I wouldn't spend much time with the default Linux load, but installing eeeXubuntu is very easy, and it gives you lots of functionality. Opera works well, and Firefox can be configured to work nicely too. The Ubuntu system is much better for system update that what we'd done, and with x86, you can run some Win32 apps (like eReader) if you install WINE. I like mine a lot, but I'll probably upgrade if they come out with a model that uses a 1024x600 screen like the Foleo had.

Alan Grassia, Staff Writer said...

Thanks for the comments, Ben. As I mentioned in the 1SRC thread, I have to walk a fine line between what can be allowed on the network. The Foleo would have flown under the radar as a companion accessory to my Treo. The Asus Eee PC would be disallowed because it isn't a corporate controlled computer. But if I was to order one or two as evaluation devices...

Alan G

Jodi Hansen said...

Alan, I think that an Asus Eee PC could help you with your Foleo cravings until the new Foleo is announced (please, let it be announced). However, if you want something for use at work and the Eee is out of the question then maybe you need to just wait. I can understand you wanting to fill that void though. I would consider one too, however, I just got a new laptop (Macbook Pro) first Mac. It has helped stop the Foleo cravings, if just for a little while.
I did get my Palm Wireless Keyboard back out for use with my Palm that will do for now, for when I am at work. So, I am going to wait a bit longer for the Foleo. I will want news within 18 months though or that just might be the end of the waiting game. I want instant on, Documents to Go, web browsing and to be able to use email, even without a Treo.

BaDZeD said...

The bundled OpenOffice (although for some weird reason its version 2.0 and not 2.3) does just fine for document creation and editing. Thats one of my primary uses of the EEE.
Plus, the EEE has the fastest system restore process (faster than a hard reset on a Palm TX) I've ever seen. =)

Ben Combee said...

I actually prefer other tools over OpenOffice (which takes a while to load up)... Emacs is what I use for programming, so I end up using that for note taking as well, then I like AbiWord for formatted text. I don't do much with spreadsheets on the device outside of a couple I manage in Google Docs.

Alan Grassia, Staff Writer said...

Emacs for note taking? Ben, your inner geek is showing. =)

But back on topic, the Eee PC does seem like a cool device. My only problem is that I'd never be able to get away with using it at work. About the only think I could get away with is a 12-inch Dell Latitude D430 notebook which ends up running $1,400.

Alan G

Harper Family said...

Since the demise of the Foleo I've been looking for an alternative and for me the Eee PC seems to fits the bill. Tonight whilst walking to get dinner I stopped into Officeworks and had a play. Its virtually perfect, fitting my travel computing needs. I only need to test the browser accessing work webmail and citrix, and convince my wife to allow me to spend AUD$488 on the 4G version.

bulls96 said...

How about the rumored HP UMPC...

This looks to be more like a Foleo replacement than an eeePC. Its business-like, fullsize keyboard, 2.5lbs, all the ports you'll need for a rumored cost of $630.

This has been the biggest substitute for the Foleo IMHO and for the first time i am actually thinking of getting a device other than the Foleo.

Come on Palm! Show us what you got for the Foleo 2! please!

If they come out and say they will not be making a Foleo (I sure hope they dont) I might consider this HP UMPC very seriously.

What do you think Alan?

Mags said...

I wanted a Foleo in the worst way, and actually had an Eee (2G) on order as a replacement, but cancelled it before it came out. The 7-inch screen was the dealbreaker, also the suspicion that the keyboard would not be comfortable for a 100+ wpm touch typist such as myself. And it just wasn't a Foleo.

The interoperability with my Treo was the whole point! I LOVED the idea of being able to tend to e-mail on a full-size screen and keyboard and also tether my wireless connection, as I don't have access to wifi at my place of employment (I use my Treo for personal e-mail, not corporate.) So the lack of Bluetooth on the Eee was another issue. And I would still have to carry my wireless keyboard for my Treo for anything connected, so I would have all the functionality of a second machine, just on a tiny Treo screen, so there seemed no point in getting the first generation device.

That being said, I'm very interested in future Eees with the rumored 9-inch screen. But really I want a Foleo. :-) The idea of the Foleo spoiled me pretty thoroughly and there's nothing that's come out that has hit the sweet spot for my needs and how I would use it quite so well. But it would be nice to have it do even more and be not only a Treo companion but a laptop replacement for the most common personal computing functions.

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