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Cheap not cheerful

Last year the titchy ASUS Eee PC hit the trad notebook market in the solar plexus when it sold millions. It also gutted the PR flacks. What were they to call this miniature beast - and the several dozen putative me-toos about which their clients were making frantic announcements? Even now, nobody knows: notbook,[sic] laptot [sic], nettop, lillipad,(aaargh) liliputer (Guardian's Jack Schofield), netbook (Intel) ULPC (ultra light PC from Microsoft) UMPC (ultra mobile PC) SCC (Small, Cheap Computer) sub-compact, mini-laptop and sub-notebook are all on record. What a mess.

Now there are at lest 43 of the little beasts with prices which now go from $400 up to as much as $800. But back then I was (naturally) taken by Elonex's promise of a £100 netbook whose keypad detached from the screen/ motherboard. Unusual configuration but I reckoned you could, if need be, plug in a bigger, more usable keyboard. After months of waiting and the conversion to a more conventional format, I finally got two Elonex OneTs. They worked out of the box. Next day they didn't. Elonex promised to send a returns envelope. After a week when they hadn't I spoke to them. They said 'Push a paperclip in a tiny socket at the back.' It worked. For one of them. Elonex promised to call back in 20 minutes... Of course it didn't....

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