UPDATE |ASUS has advised that the eee PC will only be made available in Australia on a 'special project tender' basis -- not via regular retail channels.ASUS' hot new sub-$400 laptop PC is about to hit Australian shores. We're already imagining dedicated Torrentputers, set-top boxen running the forthcoming Linux port of XBMC...
|Wee eee PC: hitting Australian shores within weeks.
UPDATE | ASUS has advised that the eee PC will only be made available in Australia on a 'special project tender' basis -- not via regular retail channels.
ASUS is to release its bargain basement sub-$400 laptop PC, dubbed "eee PC", in Australia by September.
The eee PC is a small 900MHz Intel mobile CPU-based laptop that boots Linux from 2GB of SSD flash memory -- ASUS says the boot time is just 15 seconds.
It packs 512MB of DDR2-400 RAM, either a 4GB, 8GB or 16GB flash drive for storage, 10/100 ethernet, 802.11b/g wireless and a 56K modem.
There are also USB ports for connection of external hard drives, and an inbuilt 0.3 megapixel webcam, inbuilt stereo speakers and microphone.
It tips the scales at less than a kilogram -- 890g to be precise, and the dimensions are 22.5 x 16.5 cm and 2.1 to 3.5cm deep from the front to the back of the machine.
The display is a seven inch LCD at 800x480 pixels, which sits somewhere between a mobile phone and a low-end computer display in terms of resolution. It won't win any awards for colour brilliance or brightness, but it displays a clear image, and that's perhaps all you could ask for the price.
ASUS is targeting primary school kids from grades three to five who can benefit from learning computer skills but don't necessarily need full computer functionality.
But there are other obvious markets for the eee PC. Ted Chen, managing director of ASUS Australia, said, "Applications on laptops today are mostly online, whether it is checking emails and communicating via other methods such as instant messaging or voice over IP, utilising online share spaces, or simply reading news. Being online has now become a big part of daily computing operations for work and fun, so to accommodate this movement and growing number of users, ASUS has introduced the low-cost and very easy, Eee PC."
Enthusiasts will also no doubt find ways to turn the eee PC into dedicated Torrentputers with the addition of external USB 2.0 hard drives.
It has even been mooted that eee PC could become an ideal set-top box with its lid closed. At under $400, it's cheaper than many dedicated consumer-electronics devices that have limited CODEC support, and given its ability to run Linux, it's not a stretch to imagine that the excellent XBox Media Center, which is currently being ported to Linux, could be installed on the eee PC.