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ASUS Eeeeeeeee PC: Innovative Netbook

Honest, CES was my first real hands-on look at the netbook class of notebooks, so I'm a little behind. HP called its version a "companion PC." I'm not sure if that means it's your companion, or an extra device to bring along. Regardless, these are -- naturally -- getting much more powerful, much more energy efficient and much more useful. For a certain class of power users (and maybe that's a majority), this could become the only device they carry.
Honest, CES was my first real hands-on look at the netbook class of notebooks, so I'm a little behind. HP called its version a "companion PC." I'm not sure if that means it's your companion, or an extra device to bring along. Regardless, these are -- naturally -- getting much more powerful, much more energy efficient and much more useful. For a certain class of power users (and maybe that's a majority), this could become the only device they carry.HP told me that the carriers are very interested in these devices because they see them as potential smartphone alternatives. The most innovative device I saw came from Asus, which seems to take a great deal of pride in taking this category further than others.

Asus was showing off not only a new version of its Eee Pc it just began shipping, but also some new models that will be out shortly. Here's our video.

One of the big complaints about earlier Asus netbooks was the placement of some of the keys as it tried to shove lots of functions into a small space. Asus fixed that and also improved the battery life, which is now rated at about 9.5 hours.

But the real snazzy stuff comes via the touch-enabled tablet Eee PC. This trend toward touch interfaces is great in mobile phones, but annoying in bigger form factors; the netbook seems like exactly the right upper threshold for touch. The new version will come in an 8.9-inch model in March and a 10-inch model in May; it weighs two pounds, is an inch thick, and its battery life runs at about five hours. However, the Asus Super Hybrid Engine lets you over- or under-clock the stock setting for better battery life or more performance, respectively.

The Asus spokesperson wouldn't announce pricing or talk about the wireless options, but some of the Eee PCs include 3G or WiMax (I always like how people say "for people who live in Baltimore or Portland" in reference to WiMax; like I'd move to either place just for WiMax).

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Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer