The introduction of smaller, cheaper, laptops such as the Eee PC and the Everx CloudBook make me wonder if I can adopt a more compact mobile lifestyle. I currently use a 15" MacBook Pro, which is light for it's power, but by the time you add in power supplies, security cables, VGA adaptor etc etc results in my having to carry around a backpack weighing far too much. Could a 1kg machine with an extended battery life change all that? The only way to answer that is to look at my requirements:
  1. Access to work documents etc. when the computer is detached from the Cloud: Machines like the CloudBook are designed with he idea that the user will be attached to the Internet and do all their work through a web browser using services such as Google Docs. However there is no ubiquitous wireless access in Australia and I also fly a lot so I'll need access to local office applications and files. However OpenOffice now does an excellent job of handling MS Office format documents so that would be fine when using a machine such a the CloudBook with has a higher capacity hard disk drive. The 4 to 8Gb limit on the Eee PC flash disks could be a problem (but see comment about USB drive below).
  2. I use my computer for many hours a day -- so I'm keen to have an ergonomic screen and keyboard. The small form factor of these machines works against me. I'd be keen to see if I can attach full sized screen and keyboard. Another option course is to have a full size machine for most and keep work on a large USB thumb drive for use when in the coffee shop with the compact, this also fixes the problem of having a small flash drive with limited capacity.
  3. I need to run large programs such as Subversion, MySQL, Tomcat etc. That could be a problem... However it could be fixed by having a 'proper' laptop for such activities and making sure that I manage my work to take a smaller machine when I'm doing office work and communication. The problem would be fixed of course if we had pervasive wireless so that I can use a private server to hold my larger tools and development work.
  4. A demonstration machine that will allow me to show presentations and run our Enterprise product. I don't a smaller machine is going to have the legs to run that.
So can I justify what will probably be nearly A$1,000 for an office machine to take to the coffee shop? Probably not