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First announced at Computex, Asus is preparing to shove its latest mini-notebook out of the gates with units already available for preorder through online retailer including Amazon. Netbooks have undoubtedly lost ground to tablets, but major vendors seem agree that both will coexist in the near future. Hoping to stand out in a congested and increasingly stagnant market, Asus' latest device offers a slightly different take on the conventional netbook.
Instead of Windows, the Eee PC X101 ships with MeeGo, the Linux-based amalgamation of Intel and Nokia's Moblin and Maemo operating systems. We haven't seen many MeeGo-based devices and according to a DigiTimes report last week, Intel might slow the platform's development because of a lackluster response from handset and tablet vendors. Intel didn't exactly deny those accusations, saying only that it "remains committed" to MeeGo.
The companion device measures a slender 0.69 inches thin and weighs only two pounds while packing a 1.33GHz Intel Atom N435 single-core processor, a 10.1-inch 1024x600 display, a gig of memory (one slot, upgradable to 2GB), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD reader and a VGA webcam. Internal storage is limited to 8GB of NAND flash and besides the card reader, there's no mention of storage expansion such as a 2.5-inch bay.
The machine comes equipped with a one-year warranty (six-month warranty on the three-cell 28Wh battery) and customers will receive a complimentary 60-day trial of Asus' cloud storage service. Because the Eee PC X101 foregoes the licensing fees, relatively high memory and storage requirements of Windows, pricing starts at only $200 via EXcaliberPC and Directron. CDW is asking $210 while Amazon has set the price at $227 with "free" shipping.