Asus' 8.9" Eee draws crowds at CeBIT

Summary:Here in CeBIT 2008, crowds descended on Hannover Germany to see the latest technologies. Germany is certainly a lovely country but there's nothing lovable about the 5.

Here in CeBIT 2008, crowds descended on Hannover Germany to see the latest technologies. Germany is certainly a lovely country but there's nothing lovable about the 5.60 Euro per gallon gas prices.

CeBIT is certainly one of the more unique conventions I've been to since everything is spread out over a square kilometer and it's like going to 10 mini conventions. While you get some outdoor air between the halls, don't expect any fresh air with all the smokers there. The temperature delta certainly makes proper attire a challenge because it's too warm inside and freezing outside.

Asus had a massive presence in building 26 which is one of the more popular spots at CeBIT and they managed to draw crowds wanting to get a closer look at the new and improved 8.9" Asus Eee PC. The new 8.9" Asus Eee comes with more SSD flash storage, a bigger LCD screen with 1024x600 resolution, a better quality webcam. The same Pentium M 900 MHz CPU is the same as the original Eee. [See gallery for a close-up view.]

The Windows XP model comes with 8 GBs of SSD flash memory when the Linux model comes with 12 GB of SSD flash memory. So far we only know that the price will be 399 Euros (which typically means it will be fewer in dollars for the US market), but we don't know if there will be a price difference between the Linux and Windows XP model. It is possible that the price of the flash memory offsets the licensing costs of Windows XP.While holding the lightweight Eee with one hand, I tested the quality of the Mic and the Webcam and confirmed that the quality if fairly good. The Webcam is definitely much better quality than the old Eee. The Eee also comes with a wired 10/100 Ethernet port as well as 802.11g. The one down side to the Eee is that it doesn't have a DVI output and instead has a DB-15 VGA port.

Here's a comparison of the older 7" Asus Eee versus the 8.9" Eee. As you can see, the screen is much bigger and the color and contrast appears to be much better. The speakers had to be moved to the bottom of the laptop because the bigger screen pushed them off the lid. You can also see that the track pad is also larger.

I wouldn't doubt if people buy the 12 GB Linux version and use NLite to install a trimmed down version of XP though having Linux on this device is extremely useful if you're going to use it as a security auditing tool. The 8 GBs of SSD is more than enough to hold the OS and key applications and a $60 16 GB SDHC card is more than sufficient to hold plenty of movies and data. With the larger screen and nicer webcam and adequate microphone, it becomes a great Skype video conferencing solution. The bottom line is that the Asus Eee is very pleasing in the hands and it runs Windows XP very quickly if you keep bloatware/crapware off of it.

Topics: Hardware, Enterprise Software, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Windows


George Ou, a former ZDNet blogger, is an IT consultant specializing in Servers, Microsoft, Cisco, Switches, Routers, Firewalls, IDS, VPN, Wireless LAN, Security, and IT infrastructure and architecture.

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