Thursday Jul 31 '08

Some months back I discovered the Asus eee pc - at the time it was the cheapest (and cutest) little computer around; boasting a 900 Mhz celeron processor, solid state memory, a trackpad, a 7" LCD and more for just about $300+. In the past 6 or so months since the eee pc was released here in North America, demand for UMPCs has only gotten stronger and the computer industry has responded.

Whilst on holiday in Mykonos, Greece a couple of weeks back, I was in a rush to move hotels and absent-mindedly tossed my Macbook into a suit-bag (suit-bags; you know those silly things that always end up creasing your suits and requiring you to sit on them in order to make the zipper actually do its thing?). When I got to the second hotel and opened the bag I was excited to stroll into Mykonos town and check my email... Well, until I opened my $2,000+ laptop and found that the screen was smashed and it wouldn't power up!

As soon as I saw the wreckage that was minutes-previously my pride and joy laptop I realised that its quite stupid to take your main/work computer on holiday. Yes, its nice to be able to use your own machine to check email and well, ahem, facebook, but really, the cost when something goes wrong is too much... luckily I have a couple other machines to work off of, but in the meantime my Macbook is idlly awaiting $700 surgery.

Looking back, for that $700 I could instead have purchased two UMPC's!!! Now, I know an eee pc doesn't stack up to a Macbook in terms of sexiness or power but that doesn't mean there aren't other options- Acer recently stepped up to the eee pc challenge with the Aspire One. This laptop has a 1.6Ghz processor and can ship with up to 20GB of solid state memory!! This is great news, especially combined with its professional aesthetic and color options; so you can still rock a pink laptop poolside but actually be able to store your holiday photos on it as you take them, video blog with its in-built webcam and more.

The Acer Aspire One is just one of the nu breed of UMPC's which have hit shops since January and you can expect more to come. Feature-wise, it looks like the 3g craze is moving from smart-phones to laptops with models of the Aspire One scheduled to release in Q3/Q4 08 with built-in 3G and optional carrier data plans in the US.

As soon as my Macbook recovers from surgery its not allowed out of the office - I'll be picking up a 3G UMPC later in the year and just incase anything happens to it whilst on vacation, well, it won't be as tragic :)

For a full review of the Aspire One, check out this post.

(Written by Qasim - Principal/Founder @ Design Guru)