CES: Asus to super-size the wee Eee

Taiwanese PC maker Asustek Computer Inc. on Monday confirmed rumors that it will enlarge upcoming versions of its hit Eee mini-notebook PC to accommodate 8- and 9-inch LCD screens, up from the current 7-inch LCDs the $399 Eee now sports.

According to a report in gadget blog Engadget, Asustek also plans to embed WiMax capability into its upcoming Eees as well as other notebook PCs.

The larger screen size will allow the Eees, due by the middle of this year, to sport a screen resolution of 1024×600, up from the current 800×480, reported the Register.

Asus has sold more than 350,000 of the 2-pound PCs, originally aimed at children. But some adult users have complained that the Eee is just a little too small for comfortable typing or Web surfing.

Neither report mentioned if the super-sized Eees will sport bigger keyboards to go with their expanded screens.

The bigger models could help the Eee attract mainstream adult buyers, compete with slightly-larger, much more expensive ultramobile PCs (UMPCs) from mostly Asian manufacturers, as well as upcoming low-cost sub-notebooks such as Everex’s CloudBook.

Last June, Asus actually showed off an pre-production Eee with a 10-inch screen, but since then has been hush-hush about that model.

According to the Register, buyers of the new Eees will be able to get it pre-loaded with Windows XP on its solid-state hard drive, rather than the Xandros Linux it now comes with. (Xandros Linux will also be an available option.)

During the joint press conference with Intel Corp. and Sprint Inc. — both strong proponents of WiMax — Asus CEO Johnny Shih did not show off an actual model of the new Eee, according to the Register.

Nor did he disclose prices or case colors for the new Eees, according to Engadget.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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