I want a sub-notebook, preferably the up and coming Asus eee 900 so I am keeping my eyes and ears open for how much this baby is going to retail here in the Philippines. I already got approval from my chief auditing officer (aka the Wife) that I can get one for my birthday and the recent cash flow makes the possibility of owning one sooner more of a reality.

The first generation eee PC retailed here in Manila at around the Php20K mark (or roughly US$500) due to importation taxes and such. The local retail price is a jump of 25% of the original and press release value of only US$400, which for the sake of those not tracking sub-notebook discussions is not a reality until just recently. If one is enterprising and patient enough, a similar model can be bought at a lower price but my guess is that you will have to forgo the shop warranties (aka hand-carried through customs). Nevertheless the appeal of the eee PC comes both in its portability and low price, but with some compromises like smaller screens, no bundled optical drives and solid state hard drives (which means you can bang it more without risking the data in the drive, the screen and other parts are another matter). As a local tech journalist puts it, the eee PC is changing the playing field for portable computing.

I have been salivating with getting my hands on a sub-notebook that it has been an addiction to track news about the various developments and players in the sub-notebook race to the bottom. Last Monday night I was looking for a side-by-side spec comparison between the eee 701 and 900 models when this link from a local computer store caught my eye because it was already showing a price tag for the 900 model. I assume that this is a pre-selling quote but the figures gave me quite a start: Php33,800 (~US$805) for the 8GB SSD+2GB RAM model, and Php37,800 (US$900) for the 12GB SSD++2GB RAM configuration. WHAT!

With that kind of money I could already get one of those 14.1″ laptops but I will forgo some of the portability aspect. Or maybe get the 701 model instead but I really want something with a larger screen. I just can’t rationalize spending that much for the eee PC 900 given that the first wave of this model might ship without the new Intel Atom processor just to beat the recently launched HP Mini-Note and the upcoming Acer EEE-killer models. My personal favorite for an alternative sub-notebook unit would still be the MSI Wind PC but with no announced shipping date I am still on the fence on whether I am willing to wait for it if the eee PC 900 is not economically practical for me.