Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Asus Eee PC printing


Maybe you've seen the Asus Eee PC around -- those tiny laptops that come in a variety of colors and are purported, by some, to compete with the One Laptop per Child computers. Priced between $300-$400 and up, that's really nowhere near, proportionally anyway, to the original $100 price point (now $400 for two) that Nicholoas Negroponte envisioned for the OLPC XO-1, and in fact nothing appreciably different from a low-low-end conventional laptop one might find at a number of outlets these days.

The trade-offs are not trivial, either -- the tiny screen and 2/3-sized keyboard, for example. And the standard Linux OS, while functional, especially for web-based users, lacks some of the niceties of other machines we might be used to (in my case, iPhone, and XP and Vista laptops). An annoyingly notable example, for me and others (e.g., see Walter Mossberg and Gizmodo), is the missing auto-connect to favorite wireless LANs.

Nonetheless, it prints! When connected (via USB -- wireless testing will have to wait) to a trusty HP (NYSE HPQ) LaserJet 1012, the computer automatically recognized it (not sure it's called this officially, but what I'd call "plug and play"), and quickly cranked out a test page (see below) and other hard copy as requested.

This "ultramobile" market segment seems destined to boom, with HP and Dell announcing their entries in recent days past, and printing will be at least an occasional need. With HP, like Asus,
announcing both Linus and Microsoft Windows versions (though Asus seems more Windows-focused all of a sudden), good customer printing experiences will be interesting to track.

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