MSI Wind blows west with yet another low-end subnotebook

Hidden amid overburdened UMPCs and unportable subnotebooks is what was once called the Handheld PC. This now-mythical beast turns on instantly, does most of the productivity stuff you want, and briefly ruled in the form of NEC's MobilePro, a great writers' tool that suffered from poor connectivity options and a wallet-rogering $900 price tag. MSI's Wind, like HP's recent Mini-note and the rampaging Asus Eee, get close. However, they're still insisting on filling these things with relatively power-hungry computer hardware and full-scale operating systems, which is a dreadful shame. Now, we're all Eee-lovers, for sure, but the horrors of Vista have made us all too happy to be running XP and similarly-configured builds of Linux. It builds an illusion; namely, that such things are lightweight, stripped-down tearaways. Well, they ain't. I still hanker for an update of NEC's old wonder. Instant on? Check. A full day's battery life? Check. Such conveniences seems but a dream to anyone who's wrestled with the slow-booting, energy-hungry reality of the modern portable. Was it really so hard to live without internet? Was it really so hard to live with Windows CE? Yes, yes it was! It was fucking horrible, is what it was. But the basic idea—a large but genuinely portable productivity clamshell with good connectivity and no pretensions above its station—is, I submit, a good one. Welcoming the Arrival of the MSI Wind Notebook, Providing a Light and Graceful Mobile Life When You Are on the Go! [via Digitimes]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at  
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9 Responses to MSI Wind blows west with yet another low-end subnotebook

  1. Rob Beschizza says:

    I see there’s a lot of support for NetBSD on the Z50. I’ve been tempted for a while to fish out some older machines and see if they can be resurrected with CF WiFi cards, modern distributions and the like.

    The best MobilePro, the 900c, is going on eBay for under $150. HP’s similar but super-small Jornadas fetch a little more.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget Apple’s poor, neglected e-mail. God, I loved that thing.

    Apples-for-everyone, where have you gone?

  3. nprnncbl says:

    I tried using NetBSD on the MobilePro, and it had a fatal flaw (which may no longer be the case; check the NetBSD hpcmips forum):

    Power management (suspend and instant on) only worked under Windows CE, and not in NetBSD.

    I do believe NetBSD on the Z50 has support for power management, making it a better choice for anyone that wants to try the HPC/NetBSD experience.

  4. Agies says:

    There is largely nothing wrong with Windows Mobile and I wish there were more devices that run it.

  5. Clifton says:

    The NEC Starlet, ca. 1984. 80×16 monochrome display, nice keyboard, RS-232 and built-in 1200 baud modem, ran CP/M, and had WordStar and a terminal program in ROM. It could run for about 8 hours on C batteries. Very fine little computer for the day. My employer back then used to have a small pool of them to loan out for the travelers.

  6. O_P says:

    wallet-rogering is such an awesome expression.

    I used a Jornada while I was traveling for keeping track of expenses and doing basic currency conversions. The keyboard is a joy to type on, it has instant on, and the old lucent/avaya/orinoco wireless cards work with it. Oh, and support for an external mouse. Brilliant!

    My Dad bought a bulk lot of them off of ebay and has slowly been converting friends and family members by giving them away as presents. So far everyone seems to love them.

  7. O_P says:

    I’m in Australia, so you’d probably be better off with eBay, but AU$100 plus shipping will land you one 820 sans charger and backup battery. BYO flash card.

  8. Rob Beschizza says:

    O P, how much do you want for one of those Jornies? Drop me a line at beschizza at g mail.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The IBM z50. Clamshell shape, legendary comfy keyboard, durable. Around $100 to find on ebay with the additional RAM that can no longer be bought at retail.

    If you’re manly, you can replace WindowsCE with NetBSD. You can do the same thing with the MobilePro systems, too.

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