Charles Moore's Mailbag

Reader Feedback on Sub-Laptops

Charles Moore - 2001.08.10 - Tip Jar

The following email was received in response to Monday's Do Sub-Laptop Computers Make Sense?

From Bruce Johnson

Subject: Sub-laptops

Saw your article on Low End Mac about the QuickPad Pro. My first thought was "Omigawd, they reinvented the Tandy Model QuickPad Pro100 laptop!" My second? "About %#$@# TIME! I know people who are holding theirs together with spit and bubble gum!"

They don't mention built-in BASIC, so I don't think they just bought the manufacturing rights from Radio Shack, though.

Those are incredibly tough, versatile systems. If the QuickPad people were to put BASIC on 'em, they'd have a rather stable market from people who use these things in the field.

Bruce Johnson

From Jay Kuri

Subject: sub-laptop computers


I wanted to email with regard to your great article on sub-laptop computers. I am a Mac user and PowerBook/iBook owner, as well as a Palm Pilot owner. Though I felt a small pang of guilt, I just recently bought a Sony laptop computer, the Picturebook. Sony PicturebookThe Picturebook is a great little computer - 2.2 pounds, lasts a couple of hours on the stock battery and is a real computer. Downside is that it runs Windows (though it could run Be or some other OS, mine runs FreeBSD, OS X's brother) Oh, and it's more expensive, to the tune of $1,600+. It is, however, as small as you can get with a usable keyboard.

Ultimately, though, I got it for two reasons. I had to replace my old FreeBSD laptop, and I wanted something really small I could use to load my digital pictures onto when I go to Europe later this year. I won't be going online, and I doubt I'll be using it for much aside from pictures.

All the same, though, I'd happily take it with me when I don't want to be bogged down with a "normal" laptop. It's small enough to be really portable and enough of a real computer that you can do real work on it.

As a Palm owner, though, I have to point out that for less ($200ish) you could get a Palm Pilot with a foldable keyboard which works really well. Not much of a reduction in cost, but the size and weight are significantly less when stashed in your backpack. Plus you can get any number of apps for the Palm Pilot, many of which integrate really well with the Mac.

Just wanted to share my own experiences for whatever it is worth to you. :)

Anyway, great article... Thanks,


Thanks for the comments, guys.


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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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