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28 March 2008, 14:47

Confusion about the features of the latest Eee PC

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The Taiwan online service Digitimes, allegedly quoting Kevin Lin, the deputy head of Asustek's Asian sales team, reported that the Eee PC 900 was to be fitted with a touch screen and built-in GPS. This now appears to have been wishful thinking; Asus Germany immediately made it clear that the Eee PC 900 would be delivered in the second quarter with only the features shown at CeBIT 2008, and no further models were planned for this year. Asustek itself also denied the story, saying that Kevin Lin had not made the statements attributed to him.

The features of Asus's second cheap subnotebook are incremental rather than radical: the Eee PC 900 has an 8.9in. display with a resolution of 1024×600. Its somewhat smaller predecessor, the Eee PC 4G manages just 800×480 pixels on a 7.1in. display, which is good enough to run the specially adapted Linux, but doesn't make for comfortable surfing. Asus has enlarged the Flash memory SSD – the Eee PC has no hard disk – from 4GB to up to 12GB, depending on the model. Applications and the operating system require almost 3GB of that. Main memory is doubled, to 1GB. The Eee PC 900 will cost €399, €100 more than the Eee PC 4G.

Asus is still unable to supply the current Eee PC 4G in sufficient numbers. Dealers clearly expected better supplies and have been advertising this Linux subnotebook accordingly but, even months after the launch date, only a few models are to be found here and there. Anybody who wants an Eee PC 4G will have to find a dealer who has managed to grab some of the rare models.

Despite the supply problems, which Kevin Lin blames on battery shortages due to a fire in an LG Chemical factory in Asia, many users have got together, upgrading their Eee PCs, testing other operating systems and exchanging views about applications. There will probably be many more of the latter in the near future, for Asus has recently begun offering a Software Development Kit (SDK).


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