updated 11:15 am EDT, Tue June 5, 2007
ASUS Eee PC 701
ASUS at Computex on Tuesday launched a fresh take on ultramobile PCs with the Eee PC. Although sharing the 7-inch screen of many handhelds, the Eee adopts the familiar notebook shape and includes a keyboard and trackpad. The emphasis is on ease of use -- not just portability, ASUS says. To that end, the portable splits its interface into simple and complex modes: the easy mode includes a basic interface for browsing, chat, and photos, while more comfortable users can switch to a familiar operating system such as Linux or Windows XP. Load times are kept quick through the use of a flash drive with as little as 4GB or as much as 16GB of storage; the choice has the side benefit of reducing weight to just under two pounds.
In contrast to other UMPCs, the Eee PC can be connected to physical networks with both a 56K modem and Ethernet as well as the expected 802.11b/g Wi-Fi for connecting to the Internet at a remote hotspot. A VGA-resolution webcam also fits into the tight chassis for audio and video chats and can be used with the easy mode. No mention has been made of performance, though the Intel-based system likely relies on the chipmaker's A100 CPU line to deliver its roughly 3 hours of battery life.
In keeping with ASUS' product announcements, no mention has been made of pricing or availability for the Eee PC 701 model that introduces the line, with costs depending on the exact amount of flash memory and the region. ASUS has not ruled out a North American launch and already ships most of its PC models to the area.