Tuesday, January 12, 2010



What do you think?: should I get one of these when they’re available?

I’d been thinking about getting a small travel computer, even before I had the outage on my laptop. Now, afterward, the additional point of having a backup machine makes it all the more desirable. And the Lenovo Skylight’s $500 price is in the right range.

On the positive side:

  1. It’s small and light.
  2. It’s very slick, the screen is crisp, the keyboard is good.
  3. It has great battery life.
  4. It has built-in WiFi and 3G, and there doesn’t appear to be a carrier lock-in on the 3G (though there might be — they mention only AT&T in the announcement).

On the negative side:

  1. It doesn’t have a real operating system, so...
  2. ...it doesn’t have a real suite of applications. It really is assuming you’ll be online and get everything off the Internet.
  3. It’s not clear what that means when one is offline. Can one work on some files offline, with some sort of text editor, spreadsheet program, and whatnot? Or does it really just turn into a music and video player, without the Internet behind it?

I think that last point will be the deciding factor. If I can do some basic work while I’m offline, and I can plug in some USB devices — disk drives and other memory devices, printers, scanners — then it’s appealing. If not, if it’s just a big, expensive iPod when it’s off the Internet, then I’ll give it a miss.

But it sure looks cool!


D. said...

It does look cool. I keep saying I need a laptop, but because I mostly want it for internet on the go, this would probably fit my needs even better.

Let us know when you find out more.

Simon said...

This is very similar to a Google Nexus One phone with a larger screen and a keyboard :-)
Some Web applications offer an offline mode, by leveraging local storage mechanisms included in HTML5. This requires a modern browser or a plugin such as Google Gears. I'd hope that a "Web OS" supports this.
Personally I'd miss the option of occasional software development (although there are some development environments that run in a browser). The recent 10-12" netbooks with 2GB RAM and newer Intel ATOM (e.g. N330) CPUs look like an attractive alternative.

Barry Leiba said...

Oh, yes, Simon, I, too, would miss the ability to develop stuff. That's why I'd never have such a computer as my only one -- I'll still use a regular laptop most of the time, but a netbook (or "smartbook") might work nicely as a travel/backup machine.

The Ridger, FCD said...

For roughly the same amount of money you can get a notebook that not's much bigger but has a OS. Mine's by Toshiba.

scouter573 said...

If the link is any indication (http://www.lightupyourweb.com/ - not responding), you'll be doing a lot of offline work ;) Might want to stick to something more conventional or to something with an application infrastructure (is that an electric sheep I see?).