Sunday, May 22, 2011
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie 7-Inch Computerini
Oh dear. That sounds obscene, doesn't it?
For lo these many months, I've been looking for a seven-inch technogadget -- something small enough to fit in my purse -- that will give me easy access to e-mail and the internet, especially Blogger and Google Docs. I wanted something ultra-portable and ultra-cheap for short trips (like Mythcon) and local coffeeshop jaunts, occasions when hauling my netbook around is just a bit more trouble than it's worth.
The obvious candidate would be a tablet, but I really wanted something with a physical keyboard (and without a pricey phone contract). I'd thought about unlocked versions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab or Dell Streak, combined with a Bluetooth keyboard, but playing with the tablets at local stores hadn't made me sufficiently enthusiastic to justify their price tags.
I love Google's Chrome browser and have eagerly followed news of Chrome-based netbooks, but the first ones being released are even larger than my current netbook, not to mention (as many people have noted) ridiculously expensive for something that's basically a smart terminal.
I really wanted a seven-inch netbook. ASUS used to make them, but doesn't anymore -- the smallest netbook currently available is 10.1", and I own one of those -- and I kept reading snarky articles asking why anyone would want a netbook now that tablets are here, anyway.
Keyboards, that's why. Some of us still type!
Tonight, lo and behold, I discovered on Amazon a pair of used ASUS 7-inch netbooks for $150, and after conferring with Gary, snapped one of them up. As he said, at that price, it makes sense to try the machine out. The customer reviews praise it for internet and e-mail, which is exactly how I plan to use it. Everyone says the keyboard's small, but so are my hands. The machine runs Linux, but I believe I can install Chrome on it (and if not, I'll still be able to get to gmail and Google Docs, which is what matters). If the thing sucks or completely doesn't work, I'll return it, but this may be exactly what I've needed. If it works, I'll have an upstairs desktop, a downstairs/deck netbook, and a purse netbook.
I'd still bring the 10.1 netbook on longer trips, especially if I'm working on resident files (the ASUS doesn't have much storage). But for cloud computing, this could be pretty nifty.