Once upon a time the $200 netbook was Asus’ answer to OLPC’s $100 laptop. But just as the OLPC XO Laptop never actually managed to make it all the way down to a hundred bucks, the only way to pick up a $200 Asus netbook is to find an older or refurbished model. While Asus initially promised to ship its first Eee PC for $200, by the time the first 7 inch model launched in November, 2007 the price tag was set at $400.

Netbook prices have fallen since then, as components have become cheaper and more widely available. But most new 10 inch netbooks tend to sell for between $300 and $400.

Now DigiTimes reports that Asus is eying the cheap end of the spectrum again, and plans to launch a new netbook this June which could sell for between $200 and $250.

Part of the cost savings would come from the operating system. The earliest netbooks shipped with various Linux distributions as a way to avoid Windows licensing costs and hardware restrictions. But Windows models became so popular that most netbook makers stopped offering Linux options.

DigiTimes suggests that Asus may see Google’s Chrome OS or Android operating system as a new alternative. Both Chrome OS and Google Android 3.0 should be available as open source operating systems by this summer, allowing Asus and other PC makers to ship devices with well-tested software without paying any OS licensing fees.

On the other hand, the choice of either OS would mean that you won’t be able to easily run familiar Windows apps such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop on the netbooks. There are certainly Android and web-based alternatives, but there are also Linux-based alternatives, and when I see folks working with netbooks and coffee shops these days I don’t tend to see a lot of Linux users. It’ll be interesting to see if Chrome or Android-based netbooks can succeed where Linux models have largely failed. A $200 starting price certainly wouldn’t hurt.



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14 replies on “Asus may launch an Android or Chrome OS netbook for under $250”

  1. This points to cheaper, thinner, lighter, ARM Powered Chrome OS laptops that also run 10x longer on a battery when using Pixel Qi screens, look forward to it.

  2. Asus. . . please go with Android and tell Google to focus their attentions on ONE OS–the one that is doing very very well right now–and join the necessary features of Chrome OS into Android and be done with all this multiple OS fragmentation.

  3. Dear Brad,

    Love your site(not sure about the beard!) but sometimes you have it wrong, case in point: Netbooks as defined by the usual Atom N455 specs have been available at least in CANADA on & off for Below $200 for sometime. You can get one this week at STAPLES for $199..that is all they are worth! Now that AMD’s FUSION is available for not much more…why go with the intentionaly crippled Atom?

    1. Is it a brand new model or one that’s been available for a few months or years? As I mentioned in the article, it’s not impossible to find a $200 netbook — you’re just usually going to find refurb or older models.

      I updated that line for clarity though.

      And I’m not aware of any AMD Fusion-based models for less than $330, which means a $200 netbook would still be an awful lot cheaper.

  4. Netbooks (as contrasted with tablets) are for people who do word-processing. Is it impossible to educate people to use, say, LibreOffice? Could Nota Bene be ported? It is faster than Microsoft Office. I remember when WordPerfect was king. In fact, I am old enough to recall CP/M word-processors such as WordStar and Perfect Writer. People can change.

  5. Brand new: staples.ca go to weekly flyer…look you are not going to keep an eye out for prices all over the world…that is the readers job!! On a more serious note I have noticed that our “canuck“electronics retail sector is probably more competitive than yours at this point, given the demise of circuit city. We have BEST BUY, FUTURE SHOP(owned byBB) STAPLES and THE SOURCE as well as WALLY WORLD…so our prices are very competive for now. On the AMD front I saw a FUSION C-50 with good specs for $269…that is some serious ATOM killing action in my opinion.

  6. It was The acer: A0522-BZ499 BEST BUY web code 10161870. Ask and you shall receive… the price was $269 or $279 depending on the week so my memory is better than your beard! Everyone should be carefull because there are a lot of C-30 or E-240 single core models for cheap but single core in 2011…as much as I appreciate having AMD around to keep INTEL on it’s toes I would not buy single core stuff.

  7. I have two netbooks, an ASUS EEE 1008HA and an Acer 522. Both came with windows but I turned them into dual boot machines. Both work much better on Linux (Ubuntu), perform better, startup faster. Only problem is drivers, the EEE cannot connect to WPA but it does WEP okay.

  8. As a recipient and user of the Google CR-48 notebook running Google’s Chrome OS, I can say with no uncertainty the Chrome OS, by and of itself, feels very limiting. I can do the same things I do on it running Google’s Chrome browser under Windows or Linux. The price point would have to be well under $200 for such a netbook to even be in consideration. You would be better off buying a refurbished Windows-based netbook (and install your favorite flavor of Linux if you so desire) so you at least have the option of running full-fledged productivity applications.

      1. Maybe you should go back and read what I said before passing such a limited judgement on me. Or better yet, Present an opinion of your own on the subject, rather than just bash someone else.

  9. Interesting. Is it possible to develop android apps on the android netbook without an emulator?

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