Gadgets on a Budget

Monday, June 11, 2007

Clearly the best benefit of the ever-advancing nature of technology is
the development of cheaper devices that enhance our personal
functionality.

A few days ago, I received a parcel containing the Treo650 that an
aunt of my wife had sent me. It was a gift, a very generous gift. And
I would like to thank her publicly. Thank you Aunt Edna! Your
generosity is boundless :-)

The Treo renewed my interest in handhelds and personal computing
devices. I had previously owned a Palm Tungsten T3 and I've been
yearning for another Palm handheld ever since I sold it. The only
thing holding me back was the price. These devices are not cheap. I
have been, in the months in between, content with reading press
releases of Palm, Inc. Can you tell I'm a fan? Anyway, the launch of
Palm's UMPC(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-Mobile_PC), the Palm
Foleo(http://www.palm.com/us/products/mobilecompanion/foleo/), did not
escape my notice.

With Palm's entry into the UMPC bandwagon, my other dream (owning a
laptop) was slowly coming into reality. The prices, I predicted, would
come down. As Moore's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law)
bears its full weight on the pace of chip development, we see products
coming out of the pipeline a lot more cheaper and smaller. My hopes
died when I saw the $599 price tag. I also chanced upon this article
(http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2007/05/seven_sexy_alte.html) proposing
alternatives to the Palm Foleo, albeit just as expensive or even more
so.

My hope's were revived when I saw Asus' announcement in Taiwan's
Computex expo that it is launching a spawn of Intel's Classmate PC
program (http://www.intel.com/intel/worldahead/classmatepc/). The Asus
Eee PC701 (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/archives/2007/06/05/intel_classmate_becomes_199_asus_eee_subnotebook_pc.html)
was unveiled in the midst of spectators' "oohs!" and "aahs!". They
said the units would come to American shores as early as August this
year for $200. That's cheap! It's very barebones (specs here:
http://www.gadgettastic.com/2007/06/09/asus-eee-specs/). However, if
most of your computing time is spent surfing the internet and
retrieving mail, then this PC is for you. It even has built-in WiFi to
boot.

I'm eagerly anticipating it's release in Asia and I sincerely hope
this thing reaches Philippine shores. It would definitely be a great
device for my wife. She thinks she's a technophobe and half the time
she asks me about the computer. A simple connected device like this
could simplify things enough for her to do her extra work at home at a
fast enough pace. I just know she would love something as convenient
as this. I still have to convince my wife about how wonderful it is to
have a small personal device you can take with you all the time. I
love it when technology shrinks technology, the shrinking price tag
being a wonderful side effect of it all. My wife does too, she just
doesn't know it yet.

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