Friday, February 22, 2008

Low Cost laptop - NOT the OLPC

Last year, I was excited about the Foleo from Palm. And then I was disappointed that Palm postponed the release of the Foleo because of poor reviews and constant criticism. With Palms recorder, it was one of the smartest moves they have made. Don’t get me wrong, I am a PALM carrier but I am the first to admit that the company leaves much to be desired. So out to the pile heap FOLEO goes.

Then there was all the hype with the OLPC because it was a tool that was affordable. The problem is that I personally cannot see many students wanting to use something that is such a live color of green. Especially if they are self-conscious about what others may think.

Now there are some products that have been getting a ton of buzz for about a year. Intel was seems to want to do the same thing that OLPC wanted to do. Apparently, there is some animosity between Intel and OLPC. Rumor has it that, Intel said something that OLPC didn’t like it. I really don’t think it matters but everyone needs something to talk about. How else do you get free publicity?

So anyway…

You must check out the
Asus Eee PC (pronounced “E P C”). The ASUS Eee PC is an ultra portable notebook computer with prices starting at $399 and $599. The strange little fact is that it was was developed jointly by Intel and ASUSTeK based on Intel's Classmate PC project. The difference is that Eee PC was directed at the consumer market. From the reviews and the blogs about this “laptop”, it is a well liked device. I would say that if you have a student that needs more flexibility then the DANA and you aren’t ready to go the full next step to a laptop this device could be a solution. The hard drive is small, only 4GB hard drive. However, using an SD card (most recommend this); it is a great tool for productivity. It runs open source software Open Office. Comes in a rainbow of pastel colors. Specs for the ASUS According to the website for ASUS - EeePC will also run Windows in the feature. Expect the price to increase.

It is said that the Eee PC was designed for the consumer market and the Classmate was designed for the developing nations. Here is what I don’t understand. If the Eee PC is for consumers in the US, why would you give Linxus and open source software for the price you are charging? The reason I ask this is that the Intel Classmate (not to be confused with the Humanware Classmate sold by DonJohnston,) comes with Windows XP or Linxus options, it can have MS Office 2003 and a 2 gig hard drive if you are running window or 1 gig hard drive if you are using Linux. It retails for $225-$400 depending on the configuration. It is a rugged designed laptop that has a beautiful leather cover that doubles as a sturdy handle. Specs for the Classmate (PDF File)


Andrew Barrie said...

I've heard a bit about the Asus machine and it's got pretty good reviews. Is it possible to load your own software on to the Linux version? If so, is there any kind of AT resource that will run on this platform?

Jeannette Van Houten, M.Ed, ATP said...

Andrew: I personally do not work with any Linux based computer. However, there are a few AT tools that are available. I would like to see more AT tools be web based which would allow any students have access to the tools they need without relying on students platform.