A few months ago, a Sony executive, asked what he thought of the success of the Asus Eee bargain sub-notebook, leaned back in his chair, sucked on his cigar and smugly denounced the pursuit of cute, tiny, low-cost laptops as "a race to the bottom." Then, turning dangerous, he leapt like a panther across the desk, tackled his inquisitor and plunged the smoldering ember of his cigar through the vitreous of his interviewer's eye.
The message was clear: go to hell, bargain seekers. Sony will not be pandering to the nascent low-cost UMPC market. The very term is an oxymoron, Sony snorts. UMPCs should be sleek, slim and paralyzed with crapware. They should be marketed to individuals with smooth, cylindrical drainage shunts installed in their brainpans to match every digit of their post-six-figure income. They should cost more per ounce than heroin filtered through the limbic system of Tom Cruise.
Luckily, not every laptop maker is following suit. In fact, most aren't. They see money in paperback-sized laptops that are cheap enough to sell to anyone. Hot on the heels of HP's Mini-Note 2133 comes Dell, announcing their intent to release their own low cost, ultraportable notebook to the masses as early as June, lining up nicely with the release of Intel's Atom processor. The price should fall in line with the rest of the Eee-clones.
Time to stay ahead of the pack, Asus. Where's the Fff?