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Eee PC News.de has snagged some images of an upcoming Eee PC that may be the $307 netbook Asus CEO Jerry Shen hinted at a few days ago.

Aside from the fact that it will be called the Eee PC 701SDX and look a lot like the Eee PC 701, there’s not much known about this model yet. It appears to have a 7 inch display, a large bezel around the screen, and no webcam. So it certainly seems like this could be a cheap new Eee PC model.

But I’m not really that impressed. After all, you can find an Eee PC 701 2G Surf for under $300 today. In fact, you can even pick up an Eee PC 900A for $299.99 from Best Buy. The 900A has a 4GB solid state disk, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, and an 8.9 inch display. So I just can’t get that excited about the prospect of a $300 netbook with a 7 inch screen anymore. It’s about a year too late for that.

Wait, no… it’s actually exactly a year too late for that. It was on October 16th, 2007 that Asus released the first Eee PC. The Eee PC 701 launched the netbook revolution. The OLPC project howed that it was possible to make ultraportable laptops that didn’t cost an arm and a leg if you didn’t need to run Crysis on them. And Asus showed that you could actually sell these netbooks to consumers.

A lot can happen in a year. Now practically every major notebook manufacturer with the exception of Apple and Sony have announced or released a netbook, loosely defined as 10 inch or smaller notebook with a price tag of $600 or less (usually closer to $400 or $500). And Asus has gone to town, releasing well over a dozen different Eee PC models, as well as the Eee Box mini-dekstop, and the Eee Top all-in-one PC/iMac clone. Asus even plans to release an Eee-branded motherboard and to push an LCD TV with the Eee PC name as well as the custom Linux interface Asus designed for some of the company’s netbooks.

While Asus and the netbook market in general have come a long way in a year, there are two trends that have been particularly notable. First, the prices of entry level models have continued to drop. And second, we’re seeing low cost netbooks with more powerful spec.

A year ago, $400 was about as good a price as you could find for a cheap subnotebook. And you’d take your seven inch screen and 900MHz Intel Celeron processor and be happy with it. Today, you can get a machine with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 8.9 inch display, and 6-cell battery for that price. For about $50 more, you can find another netbook that adds Bluetooth, 802.11n WiFi, and a mult-touch trackpad.

So while I would have been excited to see the Asus Eee PC 701SDX sell for $300 in October, 2007, this year all I can do is shrug and wonder if there’s something marvelous hidden behind that big bezel around the screen that will help set the 701SDX apart from existing cheap Eee PC models like the 2G and 4G Surf.

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5 replies on “Asus Eee PC 701SDX: Seriously, another one?”

  1. The oddest part is how little press there has been about this restriction. Another interesting thing is that the performance of the Atom processor is limited to the N270 or less. Unless Microsoft changes their ways, we can’t expect to be seeing Dual-core (ok, actually it’s hyperthreading) Atoms anytime soon.

    1. Hmm, that’s what I get for not proofreading thoroughly. I meant that the limitation (in order to qualify for cheap XP licensing) for netbooks is performance less than the N270. We should be seeing dual-Atom in desktop machines RealSoonNow.

  2. Somebody good at ASCII art should post a picture of a cupcake with one candle, labeled “Happy Birthday EEE” 🙂

  3. So, the netbooks are becoming more powerful… Ok. Where are the netbooks (either 8.9 or 10 inch screen models) which have both >1024×600 screen resolution and an atom processor? And why are there not more of them? Hint: There was an article last year about Microsoft placing XP licensing restrictions on netbook hardware capabilities. Manufacturers have had to limit the capabilities of their netbooks in order to get cheap XP licenses. Personally, I’d be willing to pay extra for an atom processor and 1280x??? screen resolution.

    So… you can blame Microsoft for the cookie cutter specs of the netbooks on the market.

    1. I’d pay extra for a high resolution netbook too, especially a 10-inch one. I think it really sucks for MS to restrict netbook specs. Now that you mention it, all the netbooks with greater than 1024 x 600 that I can think of are available with Vista instead of XP (and none have Atom 1.6 processors or 10-inch screens)… but wait, I just found one in the liliputing database: the Gigabyte M912 comes with XP or Vista and an Atom 1.6, but it’s an 8.9-inch “touch-screen convertible” on the “Intel lowcost portable platform,” so you may argue that it’s not really a netbook.

      Another similar one is the Kohjinsha SX3 with 1280 x 768, also with Vista, but with the weaker Atom Silverthorne and a price of ~ $1250 US. Still no regular netbook with Diamondville, high res, and 10-inch screen.

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