Typhoon may interrupt Eee Box launch

Asustek Computer (Asus) plans to launch the desktop version of its Eee PC, the Eee Box, in Taiwan this Wednesday, but Typhoon Fung Wong could throw off the schedule.

The typhoon, which made landfall in Taiwan early Monday with sustained winds of 144 kilometers per hour, has shut down businesses and schools across the island. Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau predicts the typhoon will cross Taiwan and head for the Chinese mainland by Tuesday afternoon. But some typhoons have stalled on top of the island, blowing heavy winds and dumping rain on the population for days. The government often orders businesses and schools closed when typhoons hit for fear of deaths caused by flooding and objects blowing in the wind.

Barring an interruption from Fung Wong, which means Phoenix in Chinese, Asus plans to hold a launch party for the Eee Box on Wednesday afternoon.

The Eee Box is a mini-desktop PC running on a 1.6GHz Atom microprocessor from Intel. The device will come with either a Linux or Windows XP OS, and will sell for around US$300, Asustek executives have said.

The device is far smaller than a traditional desktop PC. Like Apple’s Mac mini, the Eee Box is designed for the living room as much as the top of a desk. The Eee Box weighs less than 1 kilogram, is only 16 millimeters thick, and has a body 233mm by 178mm without the stand. It sits sideways instead of laying flat as the Mac mini does.

The Eee Box will be available in black, white, pink and pea green, according to a picture sent by Asus. The machine takes its name from the popular mini-laptop, Eee PC, by Asustek.

Atom is Intel’s smallest and lowest-power microprocessor, designed for a new category of computing devices that are low-cost and always connected to the Internet. The chips have found a home inside a number of devices, mainly the popular mini-laptop, or netbook segment of the market, which includes the Eee PC, Micro-Star International’s (MSI) Wind mini-notebook, and Giga-byte Technology’s M912.

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