While the Eee and the CloudBook have both generated excitement among techies, it's doubtful that they will attract many mainstream consumers, according to Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD Group Inc., especially compared to Apple Inc.'s new MacBook Air subnotebook, which starting at US$1,799, costs four and a half times as much as the Eee or CloudBook but offers a 13.3-in. screen and an ultrathin design.
"Even if [the Eee or CloudBook] go to the 9-in. screen, they're probably still going to be handicapped by Linux, which is not something you should give to a mainstream consumer," he said. And bigger screens means higher prices, and at US$500, "I can get a pretty decent notebook with a 15-in. screen that will do anything that I want it to do. ... The Eee and CloudBook are destined to be niche-y products."
But Kim is counting on households used to forking out more than US$399 for big screen TVs, camcorders, even iPhones, to snap up a CloudBook as a third or fourth computer for use on the go.
"Honestly, some people will find the CloudBook a little too small," he said. "But we're not trying to be all things to all people."