My laptop broke last week so I was doing the rounds of computer stores looking for another. The staff were busy shovelling dozens of new Microsoft Vista equipped computers onto the shelves. I had to keep saying "no, I don't particularly want Vista", "no I don't want dual core". When I asked for a small, low power unit for a little email, I was offered a 17 inch laptop, big enough to use as a desk, let alone as a desktop computer replacement.
One small shop was fending off calls from customers anxiously wanting to know when the could get Vista. The store was recommending customers not rush into it, but the customers didn't seem to be listening. They sold me a $30 USB External HDD Case which I transferred the hard disk from my laptop into. This can be plugged into borrowed computers using USB, until I find a modest unit to buy.
I am looking at a compact subnotebook computer with around a 12 inch screen. My Twinhead 12 Inch Notebook has lasted well, and an upgraded one of those looks the most cost effective. These are around $US1,300 (Twinheads are sold in the USA as the "Averatec").
With a screen less than 12 inches, apart from the screen being too small to see, the keyboard is too small for my fingers. There are also 12" notebooks by Dell, HP, ASUS, MSI (and many others). But the Twinhead seems reasonably priced and built.