The Evolution of the Microsoft/Intel Netbook: Three generations of mini Windows laptops

Posted in Uncategorized by QuietOC on February 12, 2010

The Eee PC 1000 and Gateway EC18 form factors

A couple of years ago I was shopping for something simple to take notes on during class and for writing in general. I remembered seeing people use small keyboards with PDAs to take class notes. So I first thought of getting a PDA and a keyboard. A few PDAs were still available, but they weren’t all that cheap, and I also discovered that keyboards for PDAs were actually pretty expensive. However, I found out about another type of device that Microsoft had developed called the Handheld PC. Handheld PCs (HPCs) were basically PDA electronics in a mini notebook form factor. I soon purchased one of the last HPCs, a used NEC Mobile Pro 900C.

NEC Mobile Pro 900C running Cmonex v2

NEC Mobile Pro 900C running Cmonex v2

A few months later ASUS released the original Eee PC on the unsuspecting world market. I wasn’t too envious of ASUS’s new device, but there is something to be said for x86 compatibility. What I really wanted though was x86 Windows compatibility–the first Eee PCs shipped with Linux. I did find my old NEC useful mainly due to its active user community and upgradeable firmware. I was soon running a user-modified OS that allowed most newer Window Mobile apps to run alongside older software on the device.


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