Asus has announced the final specifications for the first Eee Box desktop version of its popular Eee PC subnotebook — and it will include Windows XP, which has now been given a reprieve on some desktops, as well as Eee PC-type notebooks.
The machine is likely to go on sale in the UK in August, an Asus spokesperson told ZDNet.co.uk on Friday. Like the latest Eee PCs, the Eee Box will use Intel's 1.6GHz Atom chipset. It will also have a gigabyte of RAM, an 80GB hard drive and 802.11n Wi-Fi — all of which are specs that also apply to the XP version of Asus' soon-to-be-released Eee 1000 subnotebook.
The Eee Box also serves as a reminder of Microsoft's latest concession regarding the extended availability of Windows XP. The cut-off date for sales of the operating system is 30 June, after which customers are supposed to buy Vista instead, but Microsoft recently decided to let XP be sold on 'netbooks' — low-cost, relatively low-specified subnotebooks, like the Eee PC. This is largely because such devices cannot successfully run the more resource-hungry Vista.
On 3 June, however, Microsoft quietly announced that it was extending this strategy to 'nettops', like the Eee Box, which is why the machine will be available with XP in August.
Unlike previous iterations in Asus's Eee range, the Eee Box will not initially be made available in a Linux flavour, although the manufacturer's spokesperson told ZDNet.co.uk that such a version would follow the XP version at some point.
However, the Eee Box will utilise Asus's Express Gate technology, which is a Linux-based operating system of sorts that is embedded into the motherboard itself. This is meant to make the machine 'instant-on', providing a quick start-up alternative to users who may want to just browse the internet rather than fire up the full operating system. Therefore, the Eee Box will, in effect, come with both XP and Linux.