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More info on $199 Asustek notebook

June 7th, 2007 . by Matt

Asus notebook
The $199 Asus notebook

Updating this post, some of the specifications of the $199 notebook have been revealed at a computer show.

Asustek Computer’s $199 Eee PC is turning out to be one of the stars at Computex 2007, grabbing attention for its small size and even smaller price.

Asustek gave me the chance to use an engineering prototype of the Eee PC 701 on Wednesday, one day after it was announced by Jonney Shih, the company’s chair, and Sean Maloney, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s sales and marketing group.

Since Shih revealed few details of the machine’s specifications, I was looking forward to a closer look. And I came away impressed: this little notebook has a shot at making a big impact on the market for ultraportable computers. And competitors like Palm, which recently announced its $599 Foleo ultraportable notebook, should pay attention.

Eee’s Specs

Jointly developed by Intel and Asustek, the Eee PC will hit the market during the third quarter, most likely in August or September. The notebook will be aimed at education users, but it should also be available more widely.

Prices are going to start at $199, rising based on the amount of flash memory that comes with the machine instead of a hard disk. Currently, Asustek plans to sell models with 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB of flash, but that may change between now and when the first Eee PCs go on sale.

Measuring 9 inches wide by 6.6 inches deep, the Eee PC 701 is about 1.5 inches thick with the screen closed and weighs just 31 ounces. Other specifications include a 7-inch monitor, a 300,000-pixel camera, 512MB of DDR2 memory, and Wi-Fi. Next year, Asustek plans to introduce a second Eee PC model, the 1001, which will have a 10-inch screen.

CPU Mystery

Asustek isn’t disclosing what processor is used inside the device, except to say it’s an Intel mobile chip. One possibility is that the Eee PC is based on Intel’s McCaslin ultramobile PC platform, which includes either the A100 or A110 processors, formerly codenamed Steeley. Or it could be something else.

Whatever chip it’s using, the Eee PC doesn’t run hot. The prototype I tested had been running continuously for at least six hours when I picked it up, and the machine was barely warm to the touch. Asustek said the notebook can run for three hours on battery, which is sufficient for surfing the Web or checking e-mail, but I would like more. Unfortunately, Asustek doesn’t have plans to offer an extended-life battery for the Eee PC. Hopefully it will offer extra batteries as an option.

The keyboard and trackpad are slightly small due to the Eee PC’s size, but I was able to type comfortably. The keyboard felt fine for typing out e-mails or surfing the Web, but I prefer a full-size keyboard for typing for an extended period of time.

Linux-Powered Unit

Like Palm’s upcoming Foleo notebook, the Eee PC runs Linux instead of the Windows operating system. In the case of the Eee PC, Asustek chose to use Xandros for the operating system, the Open Office applications suite, and a Firefox browser. This helps to keep costs down and means the Eee PC boots in about 15 seconds.

The Eee PC’s user interface, which is still being developed, uses tabs for navigation. The prototype I tested had tabs labelled Internet, Work, Learn, Play, Settings and Favorites, which contained icons for related applications and Web sites. For example, the Internet tab offered icons for surfing the Web, connecting to Wikipedia, and the Skype voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

Sounds interesting. As long as it handles the internet, skype, IM and basic word processing well, I would probably buy it.

20 Responses to “More info on $199 Asustek notebook”

  1. comment number 1 by: GarlicBreath

    What is the point of makeing a 200$ PC? If people want a low priced PC their are already many out there. Is this going to be used in Africa or something? It needs to be compatable with all other MS programs or its usless.

  2. comment number 2 by: Matt

    It needs to be compatable with all other MS programs or its usless.

    For most programs, like power point, word, excel, ect, it is compatible.

    In the case of the Eee PC, Asustek chose to use Xandros for the operating system, the Open Office applications suite, and a Firefox browser. This helps to keep costs down and means the Eee PC boots in about 15 seconds.

  3. comment number 3 by: Newshound

    I think you should stick to yelling about Korean people, にんにく顔くん. 君はノートのことが何も分からない。

    It’s a $200 laptop, not pc, of which there are none out there. Not unless you buy it off of the back of a truck.

    And Open Office is compatible with every MS Office program, with only few formatting problems in things like excel and powerpoint files.

  4. comment number 4 by: GarlicBreath

    Thanks for the information Mr Matt. It was very helpful.

    Newsdog, on the other hand, you seem to be in a mean mood today.

    I think you should stick to yelling about Korean people

    You should stick to flipping burgers, and teaching ABC to 4 year olds newsdog.

    It’s a $200 laptop, not pc

    The title of the article is:

    First Look: Asustek’s $199 PC

    PC just means personal computer, and a notebook, or laptop is a personal computer (PC). Newsdog are you part of the reason why those poor Japanese kids can’t speak Egnrish?

  5. comment number 5 by: Newshound

    Not in vernacular English, mon brave japonais. In the vernacular, PC refers specifically to a desktop model. You won’t hear a native English speaker say “PC” when refering to a laptop.

    As an example, look at the title of Matt’s post.

  6. comment number 6 by: GarlicBreath

    Still at it newsdog?

    Again the title of the article is

    First Look: Asustek’s $199 PC

    Notice the word PC. PC in the title. Is the writer a native engrish speaker like you? As an example loot at the title of the article.

    here is a link. The computer is refered to as a PC 20 times and a laptop zero times. I just used the same term as the writer of the article. I know speaking Egnrish is very important to you, as that is your one gift, outside of flipping burgers, so why not learn what you teach.

    Here is a like to our friend wiki.

    A laptop computer or simply laptop, also called a notebook computer or notebook, is a small personal computer designed for mobility.

    Oh and “half-breed” can refer to people, you agree right?

  7. comment number 7 by: GarlicBreath

    By the way, I am not saying that the PC is not a notebook, only that its OK to call a notebook a PC. A desktop computer is called a desktop. Look at the dell home page.


    You will see a section for notebooks and desktops. And they are all PC’s.

  8. comment number 8 by: kjeff

    This is silly, PC vs PC. I guess we can never know what GarlicBreath meant by PC. I think when an article, especially from a tech magazine, is referring something as a PC, it usually just means, it’s not a Mac, and not whether it is a laptop or a desktop. And I guess that’s why Matt changes the title to “$199 Asustek notebook” because it’s clearer.
    What’s your name?

  9. comment number 9 by: GarlicBreath

    Thanks for your support Koreanjeff. What about this?

    I have given you some questions to answer on prevous posts, so please answer them and when I am happy we can move forward.

  10. comment number 10 by: kjeff

    What’s your name? Then, we can move on.

  11. comment number 11 by: GarlicBreath

    ah yes, my stalker is back. strike a tree until it falls.. eh Koreanjeff. Well, I will set the rules. If you want to call me something. Call me Garlic Breath. You have heard my conditions. Follow them or quit stalking me.

  12. comment number 12 by: Newshound


    Let’s meet and go for a beer and try to sort out your utter disdain for everyone who disagrees with you. I’ll buy you lunch at the foreign journalist’s club, if you’ll consent to an interview.

  13. comment number 13 by: GarlicBreath

    Newsdog, are you asking me out on a date? Let me be clear. I am not interested in that or you. You are very very creepy.

  14. comment number 14 by: Newshound

    I think I was very clear, but you wouldn’t necessarily understand that being an ESL speaker.

    I want an interview with you, and I will buy you lunch in return for an anonymous interview in a public place.

    If you got anything else from my post, it’s because of your own hidden desires, not through anything I wrote.

  15. comment number 15 by: GarlicBreath

    Newshound, I am not interested in a date, interview or meeting you for drinks, lunch or whatever. No thanks. Really, you are very creepy. Go away, you are starting to scare me. Quit waisting bandwith. Mr Matt has already warned you. This thread is about PC’s remember.

  16. comment number 16 by: Newshound


  17. comment number 17 by: kjeff

    I think there’s no point in taking whatever this is further with GarlicBreath. Clearly, he has issues. Anyone new to this blog might think that he owns it or something with his desires to set rules/conditions or check the “authenticity”(that was kind of funny actually). BTW, the whole thing with “Mr. Matt” is hilarious, cracks me up everytime.

  18. comment number 18 by: Newshound

    kjeff, the problem is that I know where he’s from since he visited my blog. I wish I could just spill it to everyone, but I’d like him to tell it himself.

    I’m not sure he understands that his position would become stronger if he even gave us his first name.

    Hiding behind anonymity is fine, that’s part of what makes the internet free. But expecting people to take what you say seriously when you hide yourself is just silly.

  19. comment number 19 by: Ken

    Xandros is one of charged Linux of a distributer like TurboLinux, RedHut, etc.
    So in the case of using Xandros, $199 must be impossible.
    On the other hand, pure Linux version can be fully used only by expert.
    That is why distributer’s version is dominant, though.

  20. […] Although hype about low cost laptops did not meet expectations on price there is good reason to believe that in 2008 there will be a handful of choices. […]