are there any netbooks with 3G that support ubuntu?

Netbooks have become increasingly poplar over the past year, and it has become apparent over the past few weeks that having a ‘pool’ one would be very useful for the business for a few reasons:

  • Rich (our IT manager) can take it when he is away from home in case he needs remote access ‘in case of emergency’
  • I can use it when travelling on business and holiday to work more efficiently than I can do on my Nokia e90, particularly on the train.
  • My co-diretor can use it when overseas or on client visits.

My criteria are:

  • it must be a small and light netbook type device
  • it must have 3g support, as in many places there just isnt wifi
  • it must run ubuntu, preferably the ubuntu UNR version designed for netbooks

I’ve really struggled to fit this brief, as there sem to be so few netbooks with 3g.  The Acer Aspire One A110-A 3G seems possible, but it does not ship with ubuntu and seems quote dear.  There is a Asus Eee PC 3.5g modem listed on its website, but I cannt see anywhere to buy it.

The idea of a small, SSD drive netbook device just for mobile use is quite attractive, but it must come with 3g to make it viable for me.  Can anybody recommend such a device?

  • AFAICT you can’t buy 3G enabled netbooks off the shelf, the only way to get them is through a contract with a carrier, and I’m not aware of any carriers supplying UNR based netbooks (or tbh, linux based netbooks at all).

    Many of the usb 3g sticks that carriers give out now have Linux drivers and maybe gives more flexibility in terms of being able to be used with any machine, but having a dongle trailing from the machine is a hassle. Also note that not all the drivers are upstream, e.g. for the option based device I got from T-Mobile I had to hunt out a driver and work out how to get it working myself (for both Ubuntu and Fedora).

    But I would be happy to know I was wrong.

  • Thanks Paul – I hope you are well as its a long time no speak.

    Low cost netbooks with 3G and wifi with SSD drives sound like a killer application for open source software to me. I guess that I’ll have to wait until someone like Dell agrees with me!

  • I haven’t seen any with built-in 3G either. But as Paul says, most of the 3G dongles are now supported directly by the Linux kernel and Ubuntu with (Gnome and the recent NetworkManager Applet) make configuring and using them pretty easy really.

    On my Elonex Webbook when I plug in my 3G Orange dongle up pops a wizard to guide you through the basic config and you’re off!

  • adrian steele

    Well I looked about at the Asus, Acer and Dell offerings, as well as those from Vodaphone with a built in 3g modem, and decided to get a standalone dell mini 7, and use the bluetooth on my phone to connect to my phone’s 3G account. watch this space!

  • There are a very few notebooks with 3G modems most are slated to release soon. The Linux Acer has a sim slot, but appears to be designed to work with web, not RDP sessions, reference to which I have not been able to find in any Linpus Linux document. Ubuntu netbooks with 3g capability inside the kit do not seem to exist yet. PCworld (UK) have dell versions of the Mini 9 with sim slots (but these do not appear on Dell’s own website). noidea of their op sys tho.

    Best option if you want one now – buy a Ubuntu netbook and make do with the USB dongle, not neat but you’ll have best fit to your current need – and if you do need RDP sessions to connect at least you will be able to install.

    Otherwise wait a few weeks, and you can be the first to try out some of the new kit!!!

  • guru

    There is an acer aspire one linux netbook that has been out for a long time with built in 3G modem…..