EXTRA: Eee PC 900A netbook below $300

Welcome to a special IT Blogwatch EXTRA: Richi Jennings watches the plummeting prices of netbooks -- yay for the recession? Not to mention another literal 80's music video...

Kevin C. Tofel is amazed:

ASUS Eee PC 900A
Let's get the sub-$300 netbook party started! ... [bestbuy.com] shows the white Asus Eee PC 900A available for $299. This is basically the same model as the 900, but the "A" stands for Atom. As in 1.6 GHz Intel Atom. So it still comes with Linux pre-installed on the 4GB SSD drive and includes 1GB of RAM which is more than plenty. My original Eee PC was pretty zippy when running Linux with just half of that.

At one point, there was discussion of netbooks being an impulse purchase right off the shelf. At under $300, that becomes much more of a likely reality if you can find them on the shelf to begin with. I just checked stock at the nearest five Best Buy locations and sure enough, they all have 'em.
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Warner Crocker gets grumpy:

Kevin seems excited about this breaking the sub-$300 barrier and I would agree. Although I’m not sure anything much is qualifying as an impluse buy these days given the economy.
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Mike Elgan sees the trend:

PC sales are strong and growing, but if you're looking for optimism in this news, don't look too close. The big numbers mask a new phenomenon where people are spending a fraction of what they used to on PCs.

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Desktop PCs are on the decline -- big time. More people are going with just a laptop, rather than both a desktop PC and a laptop. And more people are buying a $500 subnotebook instead of a $1,300 laptop.

All this is affecting pricing ... even though demand is high for subnotebooks, prices are still dropping (my contention is that with all the companies entering this market, they would be even lower without the downturn). HP's Mini-Note is now available for $399, for example ... Acer laptops and subnotebooks start at $309 and go up (very slowly) from there.

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A downturn in the stock market is ... actually good news for bargain hunters.
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Traian Teglet talks turkey:

Netbooks should be among the most affordable portable computer systems on the market. Well, it now looks like at least some systems vendors have adjusted the prices on several of their small-sized, low-power portable PCs ... both ASUS and HP have lowered prices for their products.

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Paying US$300 for a portable computer system that allows you to browse the Internet, both through a wired and a wireless connection, and playing some online audio and video files, seems like an attractive offer.
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Chris Davies is hard to please:

It’s not quite the $199 netbook we were originally promised, but ASUS seem to be celebrating the Eee PC’s one-year birthday by dipping under the $300 barrier.

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The battery is unspecified. The 900A was originally tipped to use a 4-cell pack, but that model also only came in 8GB or 16GB versions; it’s possible that ASUS have slipped in a 3-cell battery along with the SSD cut.

Nonetheless, an 8.9-inch netbook for that price is a good deal, and add the nearest chunky SD card to boost the onboard capacity and you’ve got a capable mobile companion device. The cheap netbook is currently showing up with good in-store and online availability.
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One-year birthday? Joanna Stern has cake -- that's not a lie:

One year ago ASUS began selling a notebook that would change the laptop industry. It was October 16, 2007 that the ASUS Eee PC 701 went on sale in Taiwan ... no matter how you look at it that 7-inch mini-notebook, which was priced at $399 at the time, set off a spark within the laptop industry ... [it] proved that consumers were interested in a smaller, low-cost laptop for children or to complement their larger PCs.

ASUS sold over 350,000 Eee PCs in the fourth quarter of 2007 and had sold 1 million by June of 2008. And according to recent reports, the company has now shipped 4 million. That original Eee PC 701 was only the start of ASUS’ plunge into the category and, since then, they have released over 10 netbook models.

Evolution may have taken hundreds of years, but not Eeevolution.
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John Ruschmeyer offers more intel.:

The local Target stores are also now displaying a 900A in both black and white for $299 along with a variety of Belkin sleeves and other accessories.

Now if I can just catch one on clearance a few months from now… :-)
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And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

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