I got an Asus to take on holiday (vacation) with me, and to play around with. They’re cute and small and way easier to lug around than a laptop. With the small screen doing serious work is more difficult (a plus when you’re not meant to be working) but I can still check email and web sites and maybe even catch up on some blogging.
I got the 4G version, and had the RAM increased to 2 GB in the shop so the warranty is still valid. Just in case. Not to mention which, it cost all of $15 and 5 minutes for them to do it, and it would probably have taken me longer to find the right screwdriver.
First impressions: it’s cute. The “easy desktop” is mostly useful, and the selection of applications reasonable (Firefox, Thunderbird, Skype, Open Office, Pidgin). I’m trying to restrain my inner geek and see how much I can get done with the easy desktop before I revert to type and install the full desktop. Some things don’t change though; one of the first things I did was find where to update software (add/remove panel) and update everything. You get this weird message for some applications, such as Skype, saying that you can remove the package after updating, without saying whether that’s just to clean up the package remains after they’ve been installed, or whether it really does remove the whole thing. Given you can’t remove (most of?) the default software, I’m assuming it would actually uninstall those applications that can be removed; maybe when I have time to do the delete/reinstall cycle I’ll try out that assumption.
I’m not sure how far I can get without installing and configuring some extra stuff. Some of the instructions and scripts the on Absolute Beginners Wiki look useful so I’ll probably break down and try them out. Part of the reason for restraining myself on this is curiosity – what does a Taiwanese company think that “housewives, office ladies and students” need in a mobile internet device? Part is also to figure out whether I can recommend this sort of device to non-technical people I know, or whether I’ll also have to tell them to do X, Y, and Z to make it usable.
More later, after I’ve played with it a bit more.