When I read that Asus announced to ship three new models of its Eee PC with Ubuntu I was excited. Then I went on to read the full announcement and I found out ath
NETBOOK INNOVATOR Asustek has announced that it will ship three models of its Eee PC with Ubuntu 10.10 preinstalled.
It will ship Ubuntu’s older version, 10.10 while now we are at 11.04. So the first thing that Asus customers will see when they boot the machine and connect it to the internet is a cute screen that says “There is a new version of your operating system. Do you want to upgrade?” What? I just spent $ for this new system and it’s obsolete? And it’s not going to be a simple system update or a ‘service pack’: it’s a whole new version of the OS, different GUI and more.
If they’re selling these machines at the Ubuntu (or general GNU/Linux) fans there is no problems as we’re used to fast upgrades. But if Ubuntu and Asus are aiming at Windows users, as it seems, I think they have to make an effort not to welcome their new customers with a message that can be read as:
I’ve been waiting for many years for a cheap all-in-one desktop computer, something like an iMac that would look good in a home office without carrying the Apple-tax of an operating system I don’t like and the premium price of the Mac cult.
That’s why I’m speechless looking at the Asus Eee Top: touchscreen and only 15″ monitor? Why? And most of all, who decided that people want to touch their monitors? Sure, we all have computer monitors full of fingerprints but everybody I know hates to notice them. Do Asus designers think that we’ll like to watch our movies and pictures from the distance of an arm and on a monitor full of nasty firngerprints? I’m not going to. In fact, Apple added a remote control to its iMac, not a touchscreen: you can enjoy your multimedia content from the distance, laying back on the chair or from the couch and without stressing your upper shoulder.
With these desktops Asus managment is missing another opportunity after failing the netbook disruption. On the Eee series they started well with a very innovative low tech yet effective model, but then they started cramming hardware features in it resulting in higher prices. HP and Acer had to go on that segment, because it was getting too close to their market and now Asus has a tougher competition. If Asus focused on the software experience (like prof. Fuggetta keeps saying), with GNU/Linux and ‘cloud based’ services they would have done a better job for their investors. They would have also got rid of Microsoft, since Vista is such a failure.