Asus Prepares $199 Eee PC Netbook
Since 2007, netbooks – those miniature laptops with tiny screens, meager processing power and often difficult keyboards – have hit it off in the PC market in a big way. Some people like them for their easy portability, and others hate them for their sluggish performance. Like them or not, Asus, the company that pretty much started up the netbook craze in the first place, has just put up the product page for a new model with a standout price of just $199 in US dollars. Of course, there are a few things you miss out on as a result of that price tag.
The Eee PC X101 features an Intel Atom N435 or N455 processor (1.33 and 1.67Ghz respectively), a 10.1” screen capable of a 1024x600 resolution (nothing new), a single gig of RAM, a small 8GB SATA solid-state drive, the standard 802.11n WiFi and bezel-mounted 0.3 megapixel webcam, Bluetooth support, and a 28Wh, 3-cell battery good for four hours. The total weight comes down to 2.02lbs and the case is just 17.6mm thick at the thickest.
As you may have noticed from the photos, the Eee PC X101 bears a passing resemblance to the much more expensive Apple MacBook Air. Although, unlike the Air, the X101 comes in different colours – red and brown are options. (I don't think I like the particular shade of red they used, but that's probably just me...)
The operating system that Asus is loading onto these guys is MeeGo Linux, instead of the much more common Windows 7 Starter. Asus is pushing the “cloud computing” aspect of the netbook by preloading an app of its own called @Vibe, which “provides a fun, easy and convenient center filled with rich cloud computing content”, as well as 2GB of online storage from DropBox alongside MeeGo's already built-in social networking features.
Surely the lack of Windows is also contributing to the low price, for there is no “Microsoft Tax” to be had if your system doesn't run Windows at all, right? Indeed, Asus is also planning another version of this very netbook dubbed the X101H, loaded with Windows 7 Starter instead of MeeGo Linux, and either a 250 or 320GB hard disk drive replacing the 8GB SSD, all for a $100 premium.
I would expect the X101/X101H netbook twins to start hitting store shelves in the next few weeks, or sometime in August at the latest. An open question to the community – would you pick one of these up, or go for a refurbished netbook with likely better specifications and a similar price tag? (Via DigiTimes)
UPDATE: The X101/X101H netbook is now available.