CES: Asus to super-size the wee Eee

To the surprise of no one (other than perhaps buyers of the 7-in. model)

Taiwanese PC maker Asustek Computer Inc. on Monday confirmed rumors that it will enlarge upcoming versions of its hit Eee mini-notebook PC to accommodate 8-in. and 9-in. LCD screens, up from the current 7-in. LCDs the $399 Eee now sports.

According to a report in gadget blog Engadget, Asustek also plans to embed WiMax capability into its upcoming Eees and other notebook PCs.

The larger screen size will allow the Eees, due by the middle of this year, to sport a screen resolution of 1024 by 600, up from the current 800 by 480, reported The Register.

2008 International CES

View more stories from 2008 International CES Asus has sold more than 350,000 of the 2-lb. PCs, originally aimed at children. But some adult users have complained that the Eee is just a little too small for comfortable typing or Web surfing.

Neither report mentioned if the super-size Eees will sport bigger keyboards to go with their expanded screens.

The bigger models could help the Eee attract mainstream adult buyers, compete with slightly larger, much more expensive ultramobile PCs from mostly Asian manufacturers, as well as upcoming low-cost subnotebooks such as Everex's CloudBook.

Last June, Asus actually showed off an preproduction Eee with a 10-in. screen, but since then has been hush-hush about that model.

According to The Register, buyers of the new Eees will be able to get it preloaded with Windows XP on its solid-state hard drive, rather than the Xandros Linux it now comes with. (Xandros Linux will also be an available option.)

During the joint press conference with Intel Corp. and Sprint Inc. -- both strong proponents of WiMax -- Asus CEO Johnny Shih did not show off an actual model of the new Eee, according to The Register.

Nor did he disclose prices nor case colors for the new Eees, according to Engadget.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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