A few weeks back Woot had Asus' Eee PC 900 for $170. I checked the memory, it had 1GB, and I damn near ordered two of them. Makes a perfect learning laptop for Spencer.
I didn't realize it didn't come with Windows - it comes installed with Linux. But it's bundled in a user-friendly way. It comes with StarOffice, and I had to play with it to upgrade FireFox to 3.0. Took a few tries, but eventually got it right.
Wireless connectivity is pretty easy, and it charges quickly. Best of all it's intuitive enough for an eight year old. I was a little worried about the X-Windows interface but that hasn't been an issue.
If there's a downside is that I will have to download some basic features to allow Spencer to do some more things with it (like view HD movies, which are not supported by the default media player).
So Spencer now has a laptop. He loves it. And like most people he's figured out how to play games on it. Although he's already created his first spreadsheet :)