Skype branded PC (Skypebook) on the way? [Asus EeePC week]

I’ve been part of a virtual team for the last 8 years, but consisting of only two people we’ve never had reason to push the boundaries of communications technology in keeping the business running smoothly. A joint Gmail account and Google Talk chats have sufficed in terms of administrative coordination.

Recently however I joined a new virtual team of seven individuals from all across the country and have finally had reason to delve into the capabilities of a hugely popular service I’d only ever dabbled in previously – Skype.

What I’ve quickly learned is that this is a much more useful communications suite than I’d imagined. The ability to switch between voice-calls to video-calls to conference chats is damn useful. Not earth shattering but very very useful. For instance, our team leader setup a Skype chat and added each team member so that we can have a continuous group discussion regardless of who else is online at the time. As soon as people go back online they’re presented with the full transcript of the conversation.

But doing all this on the Asus EeePC got me thinking about what an ideal device it is for the job and how it’s not actually a whole lot more expensive than some Skype phones. In fact I think a Skype branded (and configured) EeePC (or other Netbook) would make an ideal low end teleconferencing device. There was a lot of talk about Creative’s InPerson after the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) recently but that costs a whopping USD$700 and requires a $10 per month subscription fee to the web service!! Now why in the hell would anyone pay that if they could get a whole lot more capable Skype Netbook, let’s call it the Skypebook, for half the price and no ongoing fee?

Yesterday I had a meeting with Daithi O’Murchu, headmaster of the most technologically advanced primary school in the country, to continue our discussion about the EeePC, video conferencing and a few other ideas. I didn’t have much convincing to do, he’d already gone ahead and ordered a pilot batch of 15 Asus machines. He sees video chat as an exciting way for pupils to interact with their counterparts in other schools and countries. And he has big plans for an international broadcast from the music hall in May. I’m really looking forward to helping out with that and seeing just how far we can push these wonderful little computers in a learning environment.

[Aside: Yes, Asus EeePC week has turned into Asus EeePC fortnight and were it not for the fact I have to return my trial unit its rightful owner shortly that could well have extended to a year and beyond.]

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3 Responses to “Skype branded PC (Skypebook) on the way? [Asus EeePC week]”

  1. Simon Says:

    Hi,
    Glad to see you are engaging with Daithi; what a power house, an inspiring man.
    Glad also to say that our company eAlta Ltd. has delivered a pilot of 5 eeePCs (the ones with integrated webcam) and Daithi and his kids just love them. The eeePC are in short supply but I will deliver the next 10 configured and updated units within two weeks.
    eAlta Ltd. focuses on Linux, open source and ultra low power consumption computing. One of our other products is a Mac Mini sized desktop PC that uses max. 15 Watts and is completely silent in operation. Very zen.
    We are delighted to work with Daithi and his school.
    Many Thanks,
    Simon Spratt (Director)
    eAlta Ltd. Ireland
    Farmhouse
    Dromalta
    Cappamore
    Co. Limerick

  2. Simon Says:

    Hi,
    Glad to see you are engaging with Daithi; what a power house, an inspiring man.
    Glad also to say that our company eAlta Ltd. has delivered a pilot of 5 eeePCs (the ones with integrated webcam) and Daithi and his kids just love them. The eeePC are in short supply but I will deliver the next 10 configured and updated units within two weeks.
    eAlta Ltd. focuses on Linux, open source and ultra low power consumption computing. One of our other products is a Mac Mini sized desktop PC that uses max. 15 Watts and is completely silent in operation. Very zen.
    We are delighted to work with Daithi and his school.
    Many Thanks,
    Simon Spratt (Director)
    eAlta Ltd. Ireland
    Farmhouse
    Dromalta
    Cappamore
    Co. Limerick

  3. James Corbett Says:

    Hi Simon, I’d be interested to know in what way you are configuring the EeePCs for the kids? Are you updating the Skype to include video functionality? I found a cool little script for turning on and off the camera if you want to try it out.

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