ASUS turned more than a few heads with its original
Eee PC 401. The $399 device came out of nowhere and stole the hearts of
many computer enthusiasts (and non-enthusiasts). Over time, ASUS released models
that slotted under
the original 4G model and added more colorful options.
Earlier this month, details began
to leak on the Eee PC 900. The Eee PC 900 features an 8.9", 1024x600
display (up from a 7", 800x480 display) along with more SSD storage space
(8GB for Windows XP, 12GB for Xandros Linux).
It was later revealed that the slightly
larger Eee PC 900 will support HDDs in the future along with Intel's Diamondville-based Intel Atom processor for increased
battery life and performance in comparison to the existing Celeron-M. "In
the near future, we also are trying to support one-day computing which would
provide more than 8 hours. I think in May we might be closer to providing
that," said ASUS CEO Jerry Shen.
Other options that will come to the Eee PC lineup in the
future include WiMAX and HSDPA.
Today, however, we were all greeted with a wealth of new
information (and pictures) on the new Eee PC 900. The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) website is abuzz with a new entry detailing ASUS' latest and
greatest. The FCC entry provides numerous pictures of the Eee PC 900 from the
inside and the outside along with the device's user manual.
Perusing through the pictures
and manuals, we learn that despite what ASUS' CEO previously mentioned, the
power adapter used for the new Eee PC 900 is much larger than the original Eee
PC 401. While not a deal-breaker for many people, it's something to take note
of for travel purposes.
The internal photos also show that the Eee PC now has
Bluetooth. This is a welcome addition for mobile warriors that use Bluetooth
mice and don't want to carry around an addition Bluetooth dongle or RF dongle
for traditional wireless mice.
Also new to the Eee PC 900 is what it calls "Multi-finger
gesture input". This allows users to perform iPhone/iPod touch-esque
gestures such as "pinching" to zoom in and out in applications.
If pricing holds firm at the previously reported $500 for
the Eee PC 900, this could make quite a popular entry with consumers. Throw in
the rumored touch screen and GPS and things could get really interesting.
Now if only ASUS could deliver on the original
quote: At first glance the CloudBook is an impressive design with some innovative features and some reasonably impressive specs for the $400 price tag. However, upon closer examination it's clear that VIA and Everex had to make a number of sacrifices to bring this ultra-mobile notebook to the market for such a low price.The low-capacity slow hard drive, and slow overall performance make the CloudBook a less than compelling purchase compared to the current generation Asus Eee PC 4G ... despite the much smaller storage space. The fact that the CloudBook cannot support the correct resolutions for widescreen external monitors is another problem for anyone who wants to connect this laptop to a larger screen. The issue of excessive heat build up inside the CloudBook is perhaps the most obvious "deal killer." Who wants to own a laptop that you can only use for 30-45 minutes when connected to the internet before you have to turn it off and let it cool down?I do have to say the high-resolution scaling on the tiny screen and 30GB of storage space are very nice features, but these benefits pale in comparison to the other problems and limitations the CloudBook brings to the table. In short, I have a hard time recommending the current generation of the Everex CloudBook for any consumer. Given the strength of the Asus Eee PC and upcoming budget subnotebooks from other manufacturers, there simply isn't a compelling reason to purchase the CloudBook.