Yikes .. When ASUS launched the original Eee PC 701 4G in late 2007, the notebook was praised for its relatively low price, respectable performance for an inexpensive notebook due to its internal solid-state drive (SSD), and compact dimensions/weight. ASUS announced its second generation model in early March along with a few notable upgrades to its screen and storage capacity.
Unfortunately, those upgrades come at a price that pushes the Eee PC 900 squarely into an even higher price bracket. When the Eee PC 900 launches on May 12 in the United States, it will be priced at $549 for both Linux and Windows XP versions.
The Linux version of the Eee PC will come with a 4GB SSD + an additional 16GB internal flash module for a total of 20GB of storage space. The Windows XP model -- due to the licensing fees associated with Windows -- will only feature an internal flash module of 8GB leaving it with just 12GB of total storage space.
The other notable upgrades for the second generation Eee PC include the larger, 8.9" 1024x600 display, 1GB of DDR2 memory, Multi-Touch trackpad, and the inclusion of a 1.3 MP webcam (up from 0.3 MP). Otherwise, the Eee PC still includes an undersized keyboard, three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port, and an Intel Celeron-M processor which can run at 630 MHz or 900 MHz.
It should be interesting to see if the Eee PC can manage to maintain the momentum of its predecessor given the higher price. It's true that the higher price affords a better user experience, but it may also push potential consumers to look at larger 15.4" alternatives in its price range.
However, for those that are strictly looking for an ultra-portable machine, the Eee PC 900 makes quite a statement as do competing offerings like the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC and the Everex CloudBook Max.
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