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Asus Atom-izes Eee PC

Jun 4, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 14 views

Asus announced two new versions of its Eee PC, both based on Intel Atom processors. The Eee PC 901 and 1000 models provide 8.9-inch and 10-inch displays, respectively, and add Bluetooth, longer battery life, improved shock resistance, faster WiFi, more storage, and WiMAX options, says Asus.

(Click for larger view of Asus Eee 901)

Asus arguably pioneered the “netbook” category targeted by Intel's newly announced Atom N270. Asus launched its original Eee PC 4G mini-notebook (aka, “netbook”) in November of last year, selling some 350,000 of the devices within four months, it said. It then added the PC 900, featuring a larger display and a Windows XP option, and went on to sell a million Eee PCs in all within six months of launching the brand, it claims. Both Eee PC models used an Intel “Dothan” (65nm) Celeron CPU clocked at 900MHz.

The new Eee PC 901 and 1000 models shown today at Computex trade the Celeron for an Atom N270 clocked at 1.6GHz. Performance will likely remain similar, despite the clock speed increase, given Atom's in-order execution, although battery life could improve significantly. Intel claims 3.2-7.8 hours for the various models, depending on workload and screen brightness setting.

Both Atom-based Eee PC models will be available with either Windows XP or “GNU Linux” — likely the same Xandros pre-loaded on earlier Eee PCs. The lower-priced 901 features an 8.9-inch screen, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 12GB or 20GB SSD (solid state disk), 1.3-megapixel camera, stereo speakers and mic, and built-in Bluetooth and 802.11n networking. The new Eee PC 1000 model moves to a 10-inch screen, 2GB of RAM, and traditional spinning magnetic storage. It is also optionally available with “Hybrid” technology aimed at extending battery life, possibly in conjunction with an SSD or larger battery.

Asus did not furnish photos of the 1000 models, nor did it mention a difference in dimension, so it remains to be seen whether the company was able to squeeze a 10-inch screen into the existing 8.8 x 6.5-inch footprint. The 901 weighs 2.4 pounds, while the 1000 weighs 2.9 pounds. The H option ups the weight to 3.2 pounds.

Both Atom-based Eee PC models will come with 20GB of Internet backup space, with daily transfer quotas of 5GB. Other new features are said to include a new “Eee Stick” wireless gaming accessory, and a remote desktop feature for troubleshooting of tech support problems. Each of the new laptops offer a more scratch resistant chassis, says the company, and come in six new “Infusion” styles: Sakura, Sweet Pea, Urban Metropolis, White Peony, Pearl White, and Fine Ebony. The Linux distribution is listed simply as “GNU Linux,” but this is likely the same Xandros Linux distro preloaded on current Eee PCs.

At the Computex show in Taiwan this week, Asus also introduced new WiMAX access points, and suggested that it could be used with its new Eee PCs.

Asus did not provide pricing or availability information on its new Eee PCs or WiMAX devices.

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