Asus, the company that built the first Eee PC netbook, seems to have gotten the memo that netbooks aren't "in" anymore. It's calling its new 10.1-inch laptop the "1015E Series Notebook," and nowhere on Asus' product page does the word netbook appear, even though its screen size and $299 price tag put it in line with pretty much every netbook ever made.
In what may be another throwback to the early days of laptops, Joey-Elijah Sneddon of the OMG! Ubuntu! blog reports that the 1015E Series will optionally come with the Ubuntu operating system. There's only a Windows 8 option available on Asus' product page, but it's right under a section which says "Choose your model," which implies that more may become available.
What is the 1015E Series Notebook capable of?
Anything a normal laptop can do, aside from advanced PC games. It'll just do it much slower, thanks to its 1.1 GHz Celeron processor and its 5400 RPM hard drive -- the solid-state drives used in the 11-inch MacBook Air are the biggest reason why they feel so fast compared to PC laptops the same size.
What are its other specs like?
It has a 1366 x 768 display, which is the same resolution as a midrange laptop's but sharper thanks to the smaller screen. It also has "up to" 7 1/2 hours of battery life, an option which probably increases the price, weight, and thickness (it's normally less than an inch thick and weighs 2.64 pounds).
Most of the other features are more or less standard, except for its ability to resume from hibernate mode in two seconds.
Why isn't it called a "netbook?"
The word "netbook" has come to mean a small, slow, and cheap laptop, and while they used to be popular, the iPad has sharply cut into their sales. Asus earlier announced plans to abandon the "netbook" market, while Samsung and Acer have both moved on to making netbook-sized "Chromebooks" instead. Asus appears to have decided to just keep making netbooks, and call them by a different name.
Other Ubuntu notebooks
Ubuntu fans who want a small and cheap laptop often buy Chromebooks and install Ubuntu on them, although there are a handful of netbooks sold with Ubuntu preinstalled. Dell also manufactures an XPS laptop for developers, which is powered by Ubuntu, while boutique computer shops System76 and ZaReason both offer Ubuntu laptops as well.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
- Technology & Electronics