RIP Eee PC: Asus kills off its pioneering netbooks

With incredibly capable devices like Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD going on sale for less than two hundred bucks, we’re becoming ever more accustomed to the reality of cheap but high-quality computing. But just a few years ago, such an idea was still largely the stuff of dreams.

When Intel and Asus announced in June 2007 that they planned to release a $199 PC, more than a few eyebrows were raised. This was a time when even the very cheapest notebooks cost twice as much. The chairman and CEO of Asus called the Eee “the world’s lowest cost and easiest PC… easy to learn, easy to play, easy to work”.

It wasn't the first 'mini laptop', but the Eee PC 701 was the vanguard of the netbook PC segment, which rapidly exploded to encompass scores of devices, so many of which were hopelessly underpowered and often immensely frustrating to use. But they also introduced consumers to the convenience of low-cost secondary PCs for web browsing and occasional word-processing, well before affordable tablets became the de facto standard for such tasks.

But it's the soaring popularity of tablets like the iPad, and the falling price of thin and light notebooks, that have left netbooks on borrowed time for so long, and Digitimes reports that Asus has now, finally, ceased production of the Eee PCs that started the trend. Asus plans to direct customers who would have purchased an Eee netbook towards its Android-based Transformer tablets.

Acer and MSI – two other manufacturers that flooded an eager market with netbooks – are also said to be phasing out their netbook products.

Their cramped keyboards, weak battery life, horrible low-resolution screens and quirky performance meant that many users didn’t exactly love their Eee PCs… but many of us still have a strange – and perhaps completely illogical – fondness for them. We salute their years of service, and commend them to the great scrapheap in the sky.

Rest In Pieces.

Source: Digitimes | Image via PC Pro

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24 Comments

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My 1001PX ran W7 and W8 just fine actually. tweaked the resolution and sure, not the fastest kid around, but it served me well during travel for mail and web where I used to lug around an overpowered 18inch monster. Over the years it ran W7, W8, Ubuntu, Android and OS X, fun times.

It's now promoted to 'Mothers Facebook and mail station' running Ubuntu and mum's very happy with it.

I had an Acer 10 inch netbook and absolutely loved it. Originally had XP on it since Win 7 wasn't out yet, but I installed a leaked copy, and the netbook absolutly flew. That was with everything enabled. Win 7 performed even better than XP on it.
But yeah, there really isn't any point in making small screen netbooks any more now that there's tablets. I currently use an 11 inch Asus ultrabook which is awsome, so I don't plan on buying a tablet any time soon.

What really killed the Eee PC is the Eee Transformer - at least as capable and half its price. At some point I'm expecting a WindowsRT version (which will basically replace the Eee PC).

PGHammer said,
What really killed the Eee PC is the Eee Transformer - at least as capable and half its price.

WHOA, hold on a sec. . .you can get a Transformer for under $200?! Please share a link!!!
My Asus eee 1000HE set me back $363 in April 2009 (and that's before the 10% rebate).
I'll admit i haven't shopped around for a Transformer, but whenever i see one in an ad, i also see that they're trying to command $150 for a keyboard and dock -- that makes it very hard to believe you can get the tablet itself for under $200 ANYWHERE!

DJGM said,
About time. Good flaming riddance to these utterly pathetic fiddly little slow pieces of junk!

Hahaha, you've always got a comment for articles like this, Greg, haven't you? Just because you tried a few in o2 stores doesn't really count as experience. (I know him, he's my best mate)

The ASUS 1000H is a cracker of a netbook. I fix buses and cars, using one of these for hooking up to diagnostic ports on vehicle CAN networks to read fault codes and reprogram ECU computers on the engine, ABS and auto gearboxes is an absolute breeze. I tried using my laptop, but lugging it around the workshop was a pain and the casing couldn't take it.

The CHINESE knockoffs, now THEY were HORRIBLE junk! Win CE, crap casing, flimsy screens, premature board failure! I had tons of these in for repair at our repair company because they were cheap on eBay, bought as birthday presents for little ones and teens. Win CE is great for a sat nav where the GPS software is the only running app, but a netbook that can multitask? Not a chance!

Tidosho said,


The CHINESE knockoffs, now THEY were HORRIBLE junk! Win CE, crap casing, flimsy screens, premature board failure! I had tons of these in for repair at our repair company because they were cheap on eBay, bought as birthday presents for little ones and teens. Win CE is great for a sat nav where the GPS software is the only running app, but a netbook that can multitask? Not a chance!

I also had the privilege of working with those abominations. Person wanted Skype and Windows Live on it, Handed it back to them.

Still use my Asus 1000H occasionally, I added 2GB of RAM from the start and put W7 on it immediately, a lot faster than XP!
If only iOS was capable (or rather their Mail app) of using Public Folders on Exchange then I would have no use for my netbook. As it is I have used my Netbook daily just to copy and move stuff from the Public FOlders to my Inbox and then use my iPad.

my son bought a D255e, and it was horrible out of the box, could barely run skype, but we installed a fresh clean windows 7 and it was very usable. Still not a speed demon but everything was very good. I can't believe their execs thought the out-of-box experience performance was acceptable.

"Their cramped keyboards, weak battery life, horrible low-resolution screens and quirky performance meant that many users didn't exactly love their Eee PCs… but many of us still have a strange - and perhaps completely illogical - fondness for them. We salute their years of service, and commend them to the great scrapheap in the sky."

a) Not all EeePCs have cramped keyboards. My 10" 1000h has a full-size keyboard.
b) weak battery life? Jesus H Christ, what are you smoking? My EeePC is capable of running 7 hours! And that's the 1000h, there are netbooks out there beating that even.
c) horrible low resolution screens: Well, for watching movies they are only good on the train or so where space is rather limited so you don't complain a lot, but really, some of the 10" netbooks have more than the typical 1024*600 resolution (thanks MS for supporting Metro on Windows 8 starting at 1024*768... Old netbooks like the 1000h would be a good fit for Metro... Jesus...)
Some of the netbook pack pretty high dpi even, go figure. The actual screen quality isn't your favorite IPS monitor, but surely a bunch of netbooks have screen quality comparable to cheap to mid laptops.
d) quirky performanc: Mainly the earlier models, starting with the 1000h all that I couldn't do was gaming, but who buys a 10" laptop for gaming anyways?

Illogical fondness? Nah, my 1000h served me well for a long time and I'm still using it ocassionally, surely it will be replaced by an iPad next year, but I'll definitely keep it around as tinker machine and to run Linux on it.
Maybe even set up a small server, it's energy conservatice and got its own "UPS" - the battery.

Glassed Silver:mac

It was a great step ahead when netbooks appeared; very small, affordable and they were easy to carry anywhere. I miss them.

These things were great for the time until they put XP on it when even Windows XP was NOT designed for such small screen resolutions, and then the spawn of copycat Netbooks equally as bad with 1024x600 screens also running XP kept coming out until finally it took the MacBook Air to come out so now all the copycats are trying to copy that (poorly I might add). It is an improvement, because at least we can get a small Windows laptop with a workable screen resolution (of at least 768 pixels in height, as most apps require since about 2000), but still a sad state that most are simply Apple copycats.

Funnily enough, ASUS Zenbook is one of the worst offenders. If I wanted a MacBook Air, then I would get a MacBook Air.

It is only now that we are finally getting some decent thin & light laptops which are of their own design. eg: Lenovo X1 carbon. And a whole slew of Windows 8 laptops around the corner that are also unique in their design.

Edited by Simon-, Sep 7 2012, 12:33pm :

Absolute bilge! I have a few netbooks preceding the Macbook Air - and they are perfectly fine, usable machines. Not denying that the Macbook Air is anice refined piece of kit - but for the same price as an average desktop PC it most certainly wasn't anything new.

I bought one for my mum. Whacked it up to 2gig and it ran XP absolutely fine.

I'd say it would struggle with more than 3 apps open at a time, but then again a user would struggle under such conditions on a small screen also - so it suited her emailing and browsing just fine.

Just my poor attempt at humour - a reference to consigning them to the 'great scrapheap in the sky' in the previous paragraph.

ChuckFinley said,
I loved mine! In-fact its still in use today at my old mans work!
I loved mine (EEE 701), but stopped using it after a couple of months. Even a smartphone can do better in many cases now.