What I want in a netbook for 2010

A recent thread about laptops  in the NZLUG list remind me how I’m not 100% happy with the way netbooks are evolving. The problem is that when the EEE came out the idea was that you’d buy a cheap, portable PC  which would do 90% of what people used PC for ( email, browsing, simple documents, simple video and audio).

However the problem is that the portable and cheap seems to be going out the window as the “Netbooks” now cost as much as low end laptops and are getting almost as big. So the big advantages of my existing EEE:

  • Small and light enough to carry in my bag all the time and not notice.
  • Cheap enough that I can not use it for 2 months but not feel like I’ve wasted money
  • Cheap enough that people can give one to their kids and not worry about the kid breaking it.
  • Solid state so I don’t worry about dropping it.

at sort of lost with the new netbooks. Remember how the original EEE ( nearly 2 years ago) was supposed to cost just $US199? That is the sort of price we need so people can buy them as “kids toys”, “play machines, “travel kit machines” , etc.

I’m intending to buy a replacement for my EEE in 2010 ( 3 year replacement cycle), what I’d really like to get would be:

  • Case the same size as EEE70x or EEE90x series
  • Display 1024×768
  • 1GB RAM ( upgradeable would be nice )
  • 8 or 16GB built in flash drive
  • CPU fast enough to play video on full screen
  • Ports: 3xUSB , Ethernet, WiFi, SD-slot, VGA, Sound/Mic , Camera
  • 6+ hours battery
  • Ubuntu standard
  • no more than $US 300

I think having a standard Linux ( I like Ubuntu but that me ) OS that Netbook makers can just install on their machine or that targets a netbook platform would be a big win. Even better if it’s a “full status” version of Ubuntu that gets updates every 6 months or best of all it would be “standard” ubuntu and would “just work” on a smaller machine.

I’m hoping the 3rd (4th?) generation netbooks can be what I want. The 1st generation was just getting something out there ( EEE 701 ) , the second was upping the spec as people demanded more while I hope with the 3rd that the performance is now “good enough” and the cost and size can be shrunk back down again.