A mere three months ago, I was actually excited about mini-notebooks. I thought they were wonderful: a complete rejection by the laptop industry that a small, light weight yet still capable laptop should be priced, ounce-for-ounce, alongside Gallium. Now? I could basically write a post about any one of them entirely in TextExpander scripts.
In theory, I’m still interested in mini-notebooks: I desperately want one, I think they’re neat. But as every Asus imitator spills their sloppy second Eee-clones to market, mini-notebooks have just become indistinguishable from one another… for a period of a month, one mini-notebook rules them all, and then it’s quickly swept aside by a superior model with marginally better specs. Right now that’s the Wind.
Plunging my eyes deep into my puckered blogging omphalos, what’s distressing as a writer as that at one point I was really passionate about mini-notebooks. Now I don’t care: there’s a million competing products, all doppelgangerous, and there’s just nothing left to say except to repeat the specs and the price. How many times can you make the same points? Mini-notebooks are great in theory, but they all look the same, the battery life is still abysmal, and as cheap as they are, they are more expensive than they should be.
About the only mini-notebook I’m still excited about is the Dell E. Although the name is a testament to Dell’s own bereft imagination, the design eschews the plasticky opalescence of the Eee / Wind school of mini-notebook design for bright colors and sleekness. But it looks like Dell’s finally going to deliver on the price: according to the Digitimes, when the E is released in August, it’ll cost a paltry $299. Dell is effectively delivering on Asus’ own broken pricing promises.
It’s looking pretty clear that this month’s Wind excitement is going to be trumped by the E’s release next month. But I think that’s the cycle we’re going to see — flavor of the month mini-notebooks. That’s not surprising, although it is depressing to watch the new mini-note market go from exciting to mundane within a couple months… the same path as cell phones and digicams traveled before it.