An alternate title: Do the large PC players really want to play whack-a-mole? Because that’s what they will be playing, whacking one down, and two will sprout up.
Of course, some 900 lb gorilla of a corporation has stepped up and tried to stomp on the eeepc, or perhaps they just want to cash in on something they really wish they had thought of:
IBM sues ASUS over 3 PC patents
IBM decided to take action against the U.S. arm of ASUSTek, called ASUS Computer International, for patents it believes are being infringed in ASUS manufactured computers. complaint regarding the infringements has been filed by IBM at the United States International Trade Commission, which relates to a license agreement that ended in December 2004. IBM believes ASUS continued to use IBM patented technology after this date.
The patents in question are No. 5,008,829 covering a personal computer power supply, No. 5,249,741 covering automatic fan speed control, and No. 5,371,852 covering a method or apparatus for making a cluster of computers appear as a single host on a network.
ASUS not only makes its own brand PCs, but also produces them for companies such as Apple and Dell. The IBM complaint covers machines produced by ASUS under its own name and for third parties, but does not say specifically which third parties.
But it really doesn’t matter as another firm has decided to come out with a simple easy to use and inexpensive linux based UMPC:
Everex has confirmed plans to ship a UMPC (ultra-mobile PC) with a 7-inch screen, similar to competitor Asus’s EEE PC. A source close to the company revealed that the device — codenamed “Cloudbook” — will ship with the Google Apps-oriented “gOS” Linux distribution early next year.
According to our anonymous source, the initial Cloudbook model will be powered by a Via C7 ULV processor clocked at 1.2GHz, and come with a 30GB hard drive. It will ship in mid-January in two models, one of which will have a 1.2MP webcam. In general, the hardware appears to closely resemble Via’s Nanobook design.
Preceding the Cloudbook’s mid-January launch, Everex plans to ship a “Developer” version equipped with a touchscreen, our source revealed. That version will come with gOS source code and toolchains, similar to the gOS development board. gOS is an Everex-sponsored Linux distribution optimized for use with Google Apps.
Everex itself officially confirmed the Cloudbook’s existence Tuesday, when a press release on another topic alluded to a “Cloudbook” UMPC with a 7-inch screen. Our source suggested that Everex would likely launch the Cloudbook at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the week of Jan. 7, with consumer availability as soon as Jan. 15.
Of course, though this weird situation where the larger brand names stay out of this market won’t go on for long. The large companies like Dell, HP, Lenovo are all loath to start cannibalizing their lucrative laptop sales by getting into this low end segment, but in the end, they won’t want to wait too long, because they will be left out in the cold. The first and largest possibility to cut costs is of course: the Operating System. That’s way Linux is such a good choice, and is used in these new UMPCs. There is a natural synergy between free software and hardware manufacturers, and this is just one example of this.