Day 0 at “Open Minds” – I met the ASUS Eee PC

I just arrived in Indianapolis for the “K-12 Open Minds Conference”. The conference keynote and sessions begin tomorrow but I got a chance to swing thru the vendor area tonight and I got my first shot at the ASUS Eee PC. I first read about the Eee a few months back. I have since ordered one to test it out. I am very excited about this little machine.

1) Form factor – It is small, but to be fair it is billed as a sub-notebook. I wouldn’t want to use it for 8 hours a day with the smaller scratch pad and keyboard but if I were in 4th grade it would be perfect.
2) Linux/Intel – It runs Linux. It can also run Windows. The customized Linux version is built with the student in regards to software and configuration. No reason you couldn’t put your own OS of choice on it.
3) Speedy – It ran OpenOffice and FireFox on a free Sheraton wifi network very smoothly.
4) VGA output – With a VGA connector and 2 USB ports on the right side you could easily plug into a montior and full size keyboard/mouse. The native resolution is 800×480 but I was told bu ASUS that it will go 1024×768 on a separate monitor.
5) Multimedia – Built in mic and webcam!!
6) Expandability – You can upgrade the 512MB of RAM or you can add to the built in 2 or 4GB flash drive thru the SD slot.
7) Price – $250-$350 (depending on camera and memory options)

I am excited with what could be done with this machine in the hands of students. The price is low enough for schools to afford (we spend the same amount for a PDA or Alphasmart) and/or for parents to afford on a regular basis and there is no compromising functionality. Yes, the keyboard and drive and other features are “smaller” but it is a fully functioning laptop.

I was very impressed with this machine. Even more impressed that this is only rev. 1. I can’t wait until mine arrives!

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