I know that the BOL crew doesnt 'get' this form factor, hence it doesnt exist. They GET $600 phones but not 300-400$ mini-laptops.
Lots of people might not get their kids/spouse/family a 600$ phone but might be able to budget 300$ for a second computer in the house.
For some the cost of regular OS upgrades or word processing suite might be trivial, for others it isnt.
Its appeal is understandable.
Size: My sister in law has one and so does my neighbour and unless youve used one, its amazing how small it is. Keyboard of the EEE is a little too small for my fingers but other companies have bigger keys. My neighbour has an Asus Lamborghini but takes his subnotebook out to the corner cafe. You feel less nervous losing a 300$ machines than a 2,000$ one.
Screen: my father in law has a N95 and its a veritable swiss army knife but you can not do any real work on a smartphone. I dont want to surf the web on a phone sized screen, nor watch a tv show/movie on a flight or car ride. Even less finish typing or going over a spreadsheet. 7 inch is again a tad small for me but the 9 should be fine.
Price: EEE has seemingly shot themselves in the foot and the 9inch version will be in the 550-650$ range but other companies are going to be hitting that 299-399$ impulse buy range.
Same price as a game console and if you're thinking of buying some generic 799$ laptop maybe you would rather get instead two netbooks for spouse/kids/parents. Even though Microsoft extended the life of their old XP software after they were caught offguard by this form factor, you can see the price structures give you better deals with the Linux options since the manufacturers dont have to charge you for the discounted OS.
Again, price is very important to some.
Meaningless to others.
Specs: a lot of the netbook competitors are coming out with the new Intel Atom chip with low consumption and add to that SSD drives.
Fun: It has that Wii quality, its easy to use, plenty of people I know have bought for their parents to stay in touch through Skype.
Its cute. There, I said it and Im going to throw up now. Guys, dont buy yourself a toy poodle, buy a netbook and watch the ladies inch on by at the cafe. God knows many people who like tech love 'cute'.
Cute and impulse buys are big.
And for those who are true geeks (as opposed to tech consumers):
Its a highly customizable machine with a nice variety of Linux distros available now to take specifically advantage of its power.
Here are three Youtube vids taken last year using various the previous Ubuntu distros:
The newer distros this year have even specially EEE compiled versions which are worth checking out. My neighbour decked his with the latest Compiz-Fusion (Linux) eye candy and Im was impressed.
I dont use eye candy on my machines but it still impressive what well tuned GUI's can do without megapower.
My wife likes to use our old T21 laptop but she would never lug it around like her sisters does the EEEE that fits in her purse.
(My sis in law brought it when we went to see an uncle so it kept the kids busy during the 2 hour ride, we used it at the side of the pool once there (IMDB.com is great) and on the way back, we stopped to get gas and the highway dinner had wifi so she DL the pictures from her camera and emailed them to the uncle.)
The wife was put off though by the price of the new EEE 9 and refuses to spend 600$ on another computer (not with a bunch of old P2 and P3's still running smoothly under Linux around the house).
She looked at the MSI Wind, HP Mini-Note, Cloudbook, Intel Classmate,
And she has finally decided she will be spending 379$ on Acer's One with keys 95% of regular laptop, Intel Atom, 2 USB, 2 SD slots, WiFi, Wimax/3G:
They have videos of it on Youtube.