Hot on the heels of its Gadget of the Year award from Stuff, the Asus Eee PC has picked up PC Pro’s Hardware of the Year prize. Asus also won the PC Pro’s Technology Innovator award. As the judges put it, the tiny computer “took a flamethrower to the rulebook and helped define a whole new category of product.”

The funny thing is that the Eee PC 701 that started the trend was built primarily from off the shelf components. You take an old Intel Celeron processor, some cheap RAM and a little SSD, throw in a small display designed for digital picture frames and portable DVD players and all you need to do is build a tiny keyboard, case, and motherboard. The astonishing thing is that nobody had come up with this idea for building a cheap ultraportable sooner.

It’s possible that nobody saw the market a few years ago because there was always a push for powerful machines with more processing power than the last. But over the last few years the web browser became the killer app, because once you have a machine capable of connecting to the internet and surfing the web, you have a useful device. You don’t even need a word processor, video player, or much of anything else if you have a good web browser, because all of those applications are available online. Of course, the Eee PC and most other netbooks have word processors and video players. But they don’t need them.

What do you think? Was the Eee PC innovative? Or just another “why didn’t I think of that?” idea?

via Eee

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5 replies on “PC Pro names Eee PC hardware of the year”

  1. It was Linux that made it possible. As long as every computer had to include a Windows license one of the major selling points (price) was not possible. And then the huge sales brought on the second unexpected change, Microsoft reacted by not only keeping XP available, they dropped the price to an effective zero.

    Now that the lower bound on price has been removed, watch this next wave of cheap Chinese machines push the lower bound toward $100. Microsoft can’t even give away Windows in this new breed of netbook since they ditch the x86 arch to hit these new lower pricepoints.

  2. Well deserved, Hail to the 701, its a new classic, im keeping mine for good.

  3. I believe that it was “innovative” in the fact that Asus coupled a notebook that is considered substandard by the mainstream with a Linux distro and configuration that provided a full-featured mobile experience. They configured and priced it (the 701 in particular) at exactly the right price.

    It was innovative because it demonstrated that Linux CAN be a newbie-friendly environment. That caused shockwaves of panic in Redmond. That “David” of Asus, made the “Goliath” of Microsoft flinch.

    Asus took a gamble. The EeePC could’ve been laughed off and dismissed as a toy. It could’ve tarnished their image as a computer maker. But they pulled it off.

  4. Certainly the EEE pc is both innovative as well as a “Why didn’t I think of that”. Who would have thought that MS decision to kill XP would cause a revolt to linux? LOL That’s the innovative part. The “wditof” part comes in knowing that if you’re a sys/net admin and tired of lugging a large ass machine in with you, a small, portable router-configurable-device like this would be the perfect machine!

    just my 2 cents

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