Chicago (IL) – Asus’s chief executive officer has revealed juicy details about the upcoming EeePC. Jerry Shen told Laptop Magazine that he prefers Intel’s Diamondville processor over Via’s Isaiah chip. Slowly but surely, the EeePC will get more features, including wireless broadband. And yes, the new EeePCs will be more expensive than the debut model, even if Shen believes that prices will drop quickly.
The EeePC will be shipping with an Atom processor (Diamondville core) in May, according to the executive. Apparently, Asus is not planning with Via’s next mobile processor Isaiah, which Via claims is faster than Atom while consuming about the same power. Shen said that Diamondville is “competitive” in terms of pricing and has the advantage that it is built in 45 nm.
The new 8.9” screen model (1024×600 pixel screen resolution) of the EeePC will be available as a Windows XP version with an 8 GB SSD and 1 GB of main memory as well as Xandros Linux versions that include 12 or 20 GB SSDs. Shen said that the system will be shipping in the U.S. with a suggested retail price of $499, lifting it into the range of mainstream notebooks, which typically offer larger screens, more powerful processors and hard drives with 80 GB+ hard drives. However, he noted that the market will determine pricing, which the executive believes will come down as early as June.
That may be especially the case when Asus will be able to ship more EeePCs. While only 350,000 units were sold in the fourth quarter of last year, Asus estimates the market potential at about 700,000 units per month. So far, production volumes have been substantially lower because of a shortage of batteries, Shen said.
In Q3, the EeePC will see further upgrades, including HSDPA and WiMax wireless broadband.