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Cheapo Asus mini-eee machine nears production

Eee bah gum
Fri Sep 07 2007, 16:55
INFORMATION CONTINUES to trickle onto the Interweb about Asus's $200 diskless Linux subnotebook, the eee PC.

More pictures are gradually appearing from exhibitions in Asia. The pics in this Spanish review demonstrate how small the device is compared to a CF card and an iPod mini.

You can even practice your Chinese listening comprehension by watching some videos on YouTube of the device being booted and restarted, demonstrating its under-half-a-minute loading time.

Both spec and price seem to be changing. The base flash drive size has dropped from 4GB to 2, base memory from 512MB to 256, the onboard VGA camera has disappeared from the base model, and yet the anticipated price has risen by $250.

Careful scrutiny of the photos reveals some uncertainty as to whether the machine runs its "Dothan" Celeron M at 800 or 900MHz - one screenshot shows it as a 900, but a snap of the label underneath the preview unit also shows 800. Either way, though, happily, it looks like yours truly was wrong when I said it used a cacheless Celeron a few months back - as some readers were quick to point out.

According to the less-than-totally-accurately-named EEE User community site, NCIX in Canada briefly listed the Model 701 machine for pre-order starting at US$257 back in August. That's for the 2GB machine with 256MB RAM; the top-of-the-range machine, with 4GB, 512MB and a camera, came in at US$388.05. This equates to about £120 to £192 in good old Sterling, so though the price is creeping up, it's still pretty damned cheap.

The Eee's seven-inch screen with a large bezel reminds us of the laptops of the early 1990s, when screens were disproportionately smaller that keyboards - the other option being IBM's ingenious folding keyboard. Unfortunately for those who prefer a little more screen area, the ten-inch 1024x600 screen Model 1001 might have been cancelled. µ

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