You might have read here my post on the rumours of the HP 2133 Mini-note. About a month ago I managed to coerce one of the first 5 in Australia from the hands of the HP sales team here in Sydney. Because I didn’t want to annoy them and destroy the supplied Vista installation, I was limited to how much testing I could do with Linux on this. We did setup an 2GB SD card with Ubuntu that worked quite well. Certainly the Ubuntu desktop was a lot smoother in terms of performance than Vista. I also had a go with the SuSE image that comes with the Mini-note, though didn’t want to let it install to the hard disk. Again it ran quite well.
As far as a mobile device you can actually use it is way up there. The keyboard is really as big and useful as they claim, certainly better than some of the competition. Having a full aluminium shell makes it feel very solid, and should standup to everyday knocks and just shoving it into a bag – its main target market is college and school students, so it needs to hand. The screen is very clear – but of course being only 9″ diagonal wide-screen, I’m not sure I could use it as my main screen every day – the VGA port would definitely be made use of.
I took it along to the monthly SLUG meeting and follow-on dinner to give it an informal spruik. It provoked quite an interest and envy – I expect it might make a few people’s wish list. Unfortunately I had to give this one back. I think it is quite likely this form-factor is on the rise, particular as performance actually becomes useful, and battery life allows one to work on the road (though at the moment a spare battery is a necessity to cover a full working day). There is only so much you can do with a PDA or a Smartphone – a ultra-mobile mini-notebook with good networkability and running a nicely integrated version of Linux may well “make it”.
The photo below show it running Ubuntu next to my regular laptop (with a 15.1″ 4:3 screen).