updated 04:35 pm EDT, Mon March 10, 2008
ASUS Eee PC 900 US Info
ASUS' just-announced Eee PC 900 has received its official release information for the US as well as a guide to its near future, an interview with company chief Jerry Shen. The system will cost less than its originally announced European price when it ships to the US and should be available for $499 in the US when available in the country, which is expected by April. Shen does not say which configuration will ship at that price, though the cost of a Windows XP license points to the starter version shipping with Linux.
Shen also clarifies the specifications of the various systems and suggests that these may be improved by launch. The Windows XP-based system will ship with the same 8GB of storage as the best 7-inch Eee PC as well as 1GB of RAM to compensate for the extra resources. For Linux, which demands less resources, half the RAM will be present while storage goes up to 12GB. A 20GB version is possible depending on the production process.
The micro-portables should also receive several upgrades in the short term, the ASUS chief says. An update in May should bring Intel's 1.6GHz Atom processor for a performance boost as well as better battery life. This will also accompany a visual refresh with new colors that reflect an urban look, according to the company. More significant is a wide-area wireless upgrade planned for the summer, which should bring both 3G cellular access (via HSPA) and WiMAX as option. The latter should be available along with the larger rollout of Sprint's Xohm high-speed network.
ASUS may also produce larger versions with 10-inch screens and may provide more capacious but fragile hard drives in place of its current flash memory, though either of these choices are not likely until later in the Eee PC's future.