Lilbits: Remember Eee PC, Meet Fitbit Luxe, and Say Goodbye to FTP in Firefox

This was in 2007. Asus had already released the first Eee PC mini laptop with a 7 inch display and a custom Linux distribution in Taiwan, and now it was available for purchase in the United States. Living in New York at the time, I was able to walk to the (now defunct) J&R Electronics store and purchase one for $ 400.

It was the small laptop that gave birth to the age of netbooks, and after tens of thousands of people looked at my (objectively pretty horrible), I realized that I wasn’t the only person intrigued by these inexpensive little laptops. After share some thoughts on my personal website for a little while, i finally started the blog which became liliputing, and i have been writing about mobile technology and related topics ever since … although netbooks have no doubt come and gone.

Asus Eee PC 701

Last week, The Verge’s Nilay Patel was apparently feeling a little nostalgic, as he published an article recalling (and possibly questioning the impact of) the Eee PC line of mini laptops.

As someone who has covered this space for over a decade, I don’t know if netbooks are really dead or if they just evolved. One question I still have is whether they paved the way for the ubiquitous thin and light laptops we see today, or if this was a trend that would have happened with or without the netbook.

But it’s still a bit fascinating to me that at a time when miniaturization usually came with a high price tag (the Toshiba Libretto was not cheap), and the One laptop per child The (OLPC) project was trying to change that with innovative new hardware, Asus decided to take some cheap parts off the shelf, bundle them into a computer that was just (barely) good enough for basic tasks, and sell it as a whole new class of computers.

And it worked. For a certain time. And then, most of the big PC makers have left the space, to occasionally try their hand with related but different products such as low-end tablets or Chromebooks.

These days, some people look at mini laptops like the GPD Pocket and One Mix line of devices and call them netbooks. But I think their high prices put them in an entirely different category. To me, “netbook” meant small, cheap, and (barely) good enough (although I guess the maker of the One Mix line of devices chose to call the company “A netbookSuggests that not everyone follow my definition).

Either way, here’s a roundup of the latest tech news (and opinion pieces, I guess) from all over the web.

  • A retrospective on the Asus Eee PC and the birth (and death) of netbooks [The Verge]
  • Android 12 can automatically translate apps to your native language [xda-developers]
    Google may allow you to access Recycle Bin on Android devices with an upcoming version of the Google Files app, allowing you to restore files that have been thrown in the trash rather than deleted by certain apps. Android 12 can also provide more access to the recycle bin.
  • UK to investigate acquisition of Arm from Nvidia on national security grounds [The Verge]
    NVIDIA is in the process of acquiring British company ARM Holdings for $ 40 billion. But the deal requires regulatory approval to go through. Now the UK government has announced that it is examining the implications of competition and national security.
  • Firefox 88 Release Notes [Mozilla]
    Firefox 88 was released with support for JavaScript built into PDF files, smooth zooming with a touchpad for Linux, and a few other tweaks, bug fixes, and security fixes. This is also the version that removes built-in support for FTP.
  • PinePhone modem open source firmware now supports all basic functions [LinuxSmartphones]
    A few months after the release of an open source alternative to the original modem firmware that came with the PinePhone, the developers fixed bugs, added features, and made it a fully functional replacement for the proprietary firmware.
  • The Fibit Luxe activity tracker is now available [Fitbit]
    A few days after the leaked photos of the new activity tracker, the Fitbit Luxe is official. Fitbit’s latest device is a $ 150 activity tracker with a sleek design and all the usual features, including step and sleep tracking, heart rate measurements, and water resistance up to 50 meters. It also comes with a free 6-month Fitbit Premium subscription.

Keep up to date with the latest headlines by following Liliputing on Twitter and Facebook.

You can also find the latest news on open source phones by following our sister site Linux smartphones at Facebook and Twitter.

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About Jon Moses

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Remember Netbooks – The Verge

There’s an Apple event next week, and it seems pretty likely we’ll see updated models …

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