It seems hard to believe that I purchased my Asus EEE 700-series netbook just over a year ago -- July 2, 2008. At the time, it was the only netbook available in my part of the world, western Canada, and the only one in stock at our local Staples store. That's how rare netbooks were a year ago.
Today, I have the EEE 700 sitting next to the easy chair in the living room, where I use it like an ebook reader for reading opinion columns on the Internet in the evenings.
Asus invented the category; the 700-series was its original model. At age 1, mine already belongs in a museum. But I love its small size (7" screen) and long battery life (5 hours), even as I don't care for its slightly-too-small keyboard and too-low-resolution (a mere 800x480).
Thus, it is fine for reading the Internet, watching videos (converted from DVDs using DvdCatalyst), and writing the occasional article. Last night, I finished writing a book review -- one that I began writing while waiting in the doctor's office earlier in the week. When a computer is this small, it becomes so transportable -- a design consideration that makers of new netbooks are forgetting.
In just one year, the netbook has changed so dramatically. The netbook has changed from an item of curiosity to the savior of popular computing. It has changed from an object of scorn by major manufacturers (who worried about the lowered profits) to a design competition: what else can we squeeze in -- and can we make it look better? Today, our local Staples has a separate section in its store for netbooks, featuring models from a half-dozen vendors.
The limitations of the 700-series made me buy a 9" model last Spring, the LG X110. It is a lovely netbook, its only failing its horrid speakers. Imagine: buying two in a half-year. Why not? At around $400 each, they are 1/3 the price I paid for my last notebook computer, a three-year-old HP.