ASUS has accomplished quite a lot in a short amount of time with its Eee PC sub-notebook. ASUS, which isn't exactly a household name outside of the tech community, managed to add a dash of spice to an otherwise slightly boring 2H 2007 with its hot seller.
Consumers have definitely won as they were introduced to a low-cost computer and many were introduced for the first time to a Linux-based operating system. Part of the reason why ASUS can offer the Eee PC at such a low price is the use of relatively outdated components like a 90nm 900MHz Celeron M processor and i910 chipset, meager amounts of NAND flash memory for storage and off-the-shelf DDR2 SODIMM modules.
There's also another major reason for the ASUS Eee PC's low starting price of $299: the use of Linux instead of Windows XP or Windows Vista.
As you can imagine, Microsoft isn't all that happy about letting an estimated 5 million notebooks by year's end leave ASUS's factories with nary a sign of Windows onboard -- the boys in Redmond are having none of that and are now working closely with ASUS to provide a cut-down version of Windows XP at a discounted price.
Microsoft's cooperation with ASUS should yield a trimmer version of Windows XP just in time for the second generation Eee PC. ASUS confirmed to DailyTech that the second generation Eee PC will come in three screen sizes: 7", 8" and 8.9". The latter, as reported previously by DailyTech, will feature a screen resolution of 1024x600.
Why ASUS would launch the Eee PC with three different screen sizes remains a mystery to me. The screen has been one of the most complained about features of the original Eee PC -- the 800x480 screen resolution just doesn't cut it for many. ASUS should just make the 8.9" 1024x600 screen standard across the board and simplify the lineup.
ASUS plans to launch the second generation Eee PC along with Windows XP versions in March of 2008. The company will also launch multiple SKUs of the first generation (and second generation) Eee PC with Sprint-backed WiMAX. Finally, ASUS is planning to release a desktop-based Eee PC, but the company remained tight-lipped about those plans.