Asus' $199 Eee PC is Meego powered, available soon

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Netbooks have been harshly relegated in recent times, while tablets have taken the spotlight. To be fair though, today's nicest ultraportables have all taken cues from what made netbooks successful in the first place, including their lower prices. You may recall that luxury thin and light systems used to set you back no less than $2,000 a few years ago, and now you can grab similarly well-built models for about a grand.

Asus, who is responsible for popularizing the netbook with the Eee PC series, is planning to offer a new entry-level model, the Eee PC X101 that starts at just $199 running Intel's MeeGo operating system. An identical model running Windows 7 Starter is expected to be availabe for $299.

Inside the system will be an Intel Atom N435/N455 processor, 1GB DDR3 upgradable to 2GB, 8GB solid-state drive, WLAN and Bluetooth connectivity, two USB 2.0 ports, audio out and a 3-cell battery meant to be good for up to 4 hours. This will be wrapped up in a 10.1" casing (1024x600 display), weighing just 2 pounds and boasting a thickness of 17.6 mm.

If you can forgive the small footprint, which is meant to be a feature in itself, for the price I don't think you could ask for more.

The Eee PC X101 was unveiled at this year's Computex along with its attractive price tag, but no release date was announced. U.S. retailers started to list the system for pre-order last week and Asus put up the product page, hinting that the system may become available any day now.

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