Since yesterday, I am the happy owner of an Asus Eee laptop. No, it's not yet another machine with more cycles, megabytes, and features. Rather, the philosophy is "less is more". My version is the 4G-SURF: it has only a 7" display, 512 Mb RAM, and 4 Gb (solid state) harddisk. However, the beauty is exactly in these limitations. It's ultra-portable because of its low weight and comes pre-installed with Linux and a whole range of open source Internet and office applications, including OpenOffice. Look here for some useful links.
EEE stands for “Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play”. Interestingly, Asus seems to have learnt a lesson or two from the "One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)" project. The basic idea of that project is that as many children as possible in developing countries should get a cheap laptop, as this would be a crucial catalyst for improving their education and work prospects. There has been a lot of criticism of this project, see for example the recent discussion on the Community Informatics researchers mailing list. One main critique is that spending money on relatively still expensive equipment and the required supporting technical infrastructure would not necessarily be the best investment to help local communities bootstrap themselves.
The jury still being out on the value of OLPC, it is fascinating to see, however, the second-order effects on major for-profit companies. These are starting to realize that real user needs are not necessarily satisfied by the usual "more complex software-requires more complex hardware-enables more complex software" cycle that has been promoted so heavily and for such a long time by the "Microsoft/Intel-ial complex". The feasibility of this philosophy has been proven by the fact that Asus has totally underestimated the demand for its EEE subnotebooks. Other vendors are now also starting to jump onto the bandwagon. Although they seem to be pushing Asus to go (somewhat) more complex again, overall, there is a pressure for vendors to take a "simple is beautiful" strategy much more seriously. As I already wrote years ago, we need less tools, more process, and this -healthy- back to the basics-development seems to fit right in.