If it were me, I'd probably just get a cheap laptop. You can check a site like Slickdeals to find some rather good prices on cheap laptops. That's the safest bet, but probably also the most expensive.
I would say a cheap laptop is your best bet. Just don't expect too much out of it at the prices some of those things sell for. It will probably work fine as a web browser and word processor sort of machine, but anything much more demanding than that will likely lead to finding out just how ***** the hardware is.
You could also look into small form factor PCs... Bit more expensive, and probably a little more difficult to lug around compared to a laptop, but the hardware is likely better quality in most.
I had a hard time deciding on a forum here - I hope this is a good place to begin.
I'm living in the US. I am wondering what the least expensive devices are that allow one to access the most of the internet.
That is, if my goal is to be able to browse, read, and interact with web pages, and to be able to access web sites using AJAX, Java, Flash, HTML, etc., to be able to input data into forms, perform searches, display graphics or videos, etc. then what types of devices would provide me the richest experience, at the lowest prices. And, preferable, while I am mobile.
That is to say, I know that one can hand construct a desktop for a couple hundred dollars, put Linux or one of the other freely distributable OSes on it, and have a nice machine to do web browsing. And I even have read about the under $300 laptops that are in the pipeline.
What about handhelds? The psp does some web browsing, as does a nintendo ds these days. But their input is probably a bit... user unfriendly. And various phones and PDAs have various levels of access, with varying degrees of keyboards vs keypads, etc.
For that matter, the ones which do provide some flash and java access seem, at a simple level of interaction, to have that access "burned" in, which makes keeping up with the ever changing face of the internet rather tough - just got done hitting a web site which required the latest greatest flash, and wouldn't let you in otherwise.
So anyways, just curious what else is out there that I've overlooked or had not yet heard about.