Asus is getting back into the Linux netbook game with the introduction of the Eee PC X101. The company is positioning the new netbook as a thin and light model, measuring just 0.7 inches thick and weighing just 2.1 pounds. Those figures aren’t exactly revolutionary, but they do mean that the new netbook will be thinner and lighter than the original Asus Eee PC 701 which was launched in 2007.
Like the Eee PC 701 though, the X101 will be available with a choice of Windows 7 or Linux — something that Asus hasn’t offered in a couple of years. A Linux-based operating system helps drive down the cost of a netbook. The Eee PC X101 is expected to sell for just $200.
The original Eee PC came with a customized version of Xandros Linux which was designed to be easy to use, but which didn’t provide easy access to much third party software. This time around Asus is going with MeeGo Linux. The operating system is backed by Intel, is optimized to run on netbooks with Intel Atom processors, and will have its own app store.
The Eee PC X101 will have a 10.1 inch display, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and An Intel Atom N435 processor. This is the first time I’ve heard of that particular chip, but I have a feeling we’ll find out more about the N435 processor as the Computex trade show gets underway this week.
Asus says there will also be an X101H model with a hybrid SSD/hard drive option.
Update: More specs are available. It turns out the $200 model will have a 3 cell battery and 8GB SSD. If you want Windows, a larger hard drive, or a more powerful battery you’ll have to pay more. That’s not a huge surprise, but now we have confirmation.
You can check out a few hands-on videos after the break, thanks to TweakTown, Engadget, and jkkmobile. The case design looks pretty good, but I’m a bit concerned about the touchpad which doesn’t have any distinct buttons.