Next generation Eee PC to feature WiMAX and 8.9" display

ASUS definitely struck a nerve when it launched its two-pound Eee PC sub-notebook. ASUS isn't resting on its laurels and will show a next generation Eee PC at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

ASUS gave very little information on its website and only offered the following statement:

Join ASUS, Intel and Sprint to learn about the state of WiMAX technology, preview next-generation mobile solutions (including the next generation Eee PC) and immerse yourself in tomorrow’s wireless protocol.

Intel and Sprint are putting a lot of muscle behind WiMAX. Intel's Montevina notebook platform will support WiMAX in Q2 2008 and the Menlow UMPC platform -- presumably the foundation for ASUS' next generation Eee PC -- will also feature 3G and WiMAX integration. For its part, Sprint plans to invest $5 billion USD into WiMAX over the next two years.

Should ASUS choose to adopt the Menlow platform for the next generation Eee PC, huge power saving will be realized for users. The current Eee PC uses a 90nm, 900MHz Celeron M processor running at 630MHz with the current official BIOS. Intel's Menlow platform includes a 45nm Silverthorne processor which promises ten times the power efficiency of first generation UMPCs using Intel Celeron M, Pentium M and A100/A110 processors.

Other big news coming from the Commercial Times is that an 8.9" screen is in store for the next generation Eee PC. The current Eee PC uses a 7" 800x480 widescreen display. Many have complained about the lack of real estate with the 7" screen, but an 8.9" display with a 1024x600 screen resolution could quiet a few critics.

According to the Commercial Times, the current 7" panels used in the Eee PC cost $40 USD. The larger 8.9" panels are estimated to cost between $55 to $60 USD.

The Eee PC is currently available in a variety of models including the 2G Surf, 4G Surf, 4G and 8G. Pricing ranges from $299 USD for the Eee PC 2G Surf on up to $499 USD for the Eee PC 8G.

ASUS expects to ship 3.8 million Eee PCs during the next fiscal year and the planned upgrades to the device should ensure that the company reaches its target.

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