You might well have seen the Asus Eee PC featured elsewhere, as this cool bit of kit is garnering positive headlines and reviews all over the place. Basically, it's an ultra mobile notebook computer which is very light and very portable. It doesn't have an optical media drive, and it doesn't have a hard drive - opting instead for some solid state memory - which means there's no moving parts and it's really light.
I took delivery of my Eee PC (4GB Black) this morning and you can see from this video how small it is - about the size of an A5 flyer - and quick it is to setup and get working.
First thoughts are that it really is very simple to use. It comes pre loaded with a Linux distribution and probably all the applications most people will need - a web browser (Firefox), OpenOffice, some games as well a multimedia applications and Skype. It's all very straightforward to use and intuitive too. Extending it beyond the default setup by installing new applications is probably a bit trickier than anyone from a Windows background will be used to though.
On most models there is a webcam built in ("Surf" models don't have this) and the quality is good although the Instant Messenger client it comes with, Pidgin, doesn't support its use at the current time. It does work with Skype, however.
As a mobile PC, I love it. It's small, rugged and easy to throw in a bag and take anywhere. It's cheap enough to not care too much if it gets the occasional knock or scratch. My existing Sony Vaio laptop is in theory a portable computer but generally I find that its great for moving around the house but actually taking it out with me is an arduous task as it requires its own bag and its kind of heavy. Not with the Eee Pc. I can seriously imagine taking this almost anywhere and it will be great for a traveller. I'm going to France this weekend and I specifically ordered this before I go because it's just perfect for that kind of thing. It has Wifi and ethernet connectivity options so you should have no problems getting it online wherever you go.
It's also possible to get Win XP on there which I am going to attempt at some point so I can link up my Sony Ericsson 3G phone using one of the three USB 2.0 ports and enjoy truly mobile working. Using one of these with a USB dongle would also be a great mobile solution.
Eee PC is definitely recommend by myHotspots.
UPDATE: Where can you get it? (01/04/08)
I got an email asking where I got my Eee PC, as it does seem to sell out very quickly or some retailers or putting the price up when they do get limited stock. I got mine from BT Shop for about £228, with black being the only colour in stock at time of writing but other colours due back soon.
They are also available from Marshall Ward for about the same price and available in all colours.