Asus rolls out the $199 Eee PC

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Asus today at the Computex Show in Taipei has taken the wraps off a tiny sub $200 notebook, part of what Intel is now calling its "World Ahead" market initiative, aimed mostly at developing countries to provide them with access to knowledge and modern forms of education.

The Eee PC 701 is being touted as the world’s cheapest and easiest-to-use laptop. It has been designed with communications in mind with built-in 802.11b/g wireless, 10/100 Ethernet port and a 56k modem. It also sports a 7’’ display, 512MB of DDR2-400 memory, a webcam and can be equipped with a range of SSD drives, including 2GB, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB.

To some extent we have Nicholas Negroponte and its non-profit OLPC initiative to thank for this new ultra-low-cost laptop market that is starting to emerge and will sure help not only to provide knowledge to kids in developing countries, but also to give people everywhere looking for a low cost easy to use computer “the chance to access the Internet and share in the 21st century opportunity”. These products don’t necessarily replace higher-end products as they are targeted at a different segment.

The somewhat strange name “Eee”, according to Asus represents easy to learn, easy to play, easy to work. The Eee PC 701 will start selling at $199; a shipping date, however, has not yet been announced for the new device.

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