Asus Eee PC Flare netbook photos surface ahead of CES

By on January 2, 2012, 10:30 AM

There’s still more than a week left until the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show gets underway in Sin City but that typically doesn’t stop some of the top vendors from getting a head start with press coverage. Asus is one the first to do so with some teaser photos of their upcoming netbook lineup, dubbed the Eee PC Flare.

The Flare is based on designs that Asus previewed at Computex 2011, borrowing styling cues from the emerging ultrabook market, according to NotebookItalia. These include an overall slim design with low-profile hinges as well as now-popular chiclet keyboards. As evident by the photo below, the Taiwanese company will offer the Flare in multiple color options.

Asus hopes the design is ultimately more trendy and pragmatic than previous netbook offerings thanks to an even distribution of I/O ports on both the left and right side of the unit.

With the Flare, consumers will have the option to select either an AMD Fusion-based netbook (1125B) or one powered by Intel’s Cedar Trail (1225C).The Flare will replace the current line of Asus Seashell netbooks.

Many analysts and consumers alike have been forecasting a rapid decline for the netbook starting as early as late 2010. CES 2011 kicked off what was arguably the year of the tablet with countless manufacturers introducing devices with the majority running Google’s Android operating system. Nvidia’s Tegra 3 SoC recently debuted inside the Asus Transformer Prime and with tablet versions of Ice Cream Sandwich just around the corner, we can expect a whole new generation of tablets to surface next week.

It remains to be seen if 2012 will mark the proverbial nail in the coffin for the netbook or if it will somehow make a comeback.

User Comments: 4

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Guest said:

It is just a matter of time till some realize the "cool" factor of a tablet takes second place to the utility of a Netbook. I will take a slim netbook over a tablet any time.

Guest said:

As I've commented elsewhere, the 'rapid decline' in the netbook market is sales-pitch hyperbole for 'nobody's needed to buy a new netbook' yet.

Standard netbooks will suit 75-85% of users while running stock XP and 1GB ram - and are probably still going to suit netbook consumers for a few more years yet. Tablets have glimmer appeal (as in for people who are inspired by shiny things), but in a short time appear to have little use further than replacing the magazines in the toilet with a more technologically updated version of the same.

Netbook makers are now in a different manufacturing epoch, and could adapt to manufacture-on-demand styles such as the dell model, but it would be unwise to suggest consumers are champing at the bit to upgrade their existing netbook for a new one with arguably similar specifications until there is a new technological breakthrough to add to the mix - even a minor shift such as 22 hour battery life or touchscreens would hardly move the masses though, but would likely be limited to the curious.

My personal pick will be that we see netbooks endure for a few more years until most consumers are naturally considering picking up a replacement anyway. This 'resurgence' in netbooks will simply be more sales hyperbole attempting to work out how netbook sales are attributed to them, rather than average joe's replacing like for like.

I'd like to consider what those netbooks will be like though (read this as industry goals, not in any priority order):

1. Sub $200-300

2. 1TB SSD

3. 4GB ram

4. 3D graphics engines comparable to todays gaming machines

5. 10'-11' screen size (achieved)

6. touchscreens

7. 20-24hr battery life

Guest said:

I want to see a small netbook like 7 or 8 inches again. Why not a large screen smart phone or a small screen net book that would fit in a purse or military dungaree pocket? Maybe a folding or dual screen contraption? Touch typing, virtual keyboard, thumb typing? I am not sure what to want in that respect. I suppose it depends on the applications and the way they are presented.

Guest said:

It's a nice $200 netbook.

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