Asus Eee PC 900: The wow starts. . .later?

Asus Eee PC 900: The wow starts. . .later?

Summary: Asus announced yesterday a new version of its Eee PC at the CeBIT tradeshow. Among other changes, the Eee PC 900 is now available with Windows, but it's XP not Vista.


Asus announced yesterday a new version of its Eee PC at the CeBIT tradeshow. The subnotebook has won a lot of good press and it seems a few fans. But when it comes to the operating system, the wow hasn't started now. . .and apparently it won't anytime soon. Among other changes, the Eee PC 900 is now available with Windows, but it's XP not Vista.

That's not a huge surprise given the hardware limitations and pricing of the Eee PC. But with similar products trickling into the market and Intel making a big push with its new Atom processor family, I've been wondering how quickly Microsoft would move to develop a lightweight version of Vista to compete with the Linux variants showing up on mobile Internet devices and low-cost laptops. Now we've got part of the answer.

At the Asus press event, a Microsoft executive reportedly said Vista was not an option because of Asus's other requirements. "We couldn't go the Vista route," said Thomas Bauer, Microsoft's general manager for manufacturer relations in Europe. "We are in close discussions with Asus [regarding] how to take that forward... in regards to the Windows 7 Europe timeframe." In other words, it isn't going to happen with Vista, period.

The Eee PC 900 has several hardware updates including a larger 8.9-inch display with a higher resolution, double the memory (1GB), as much as 12GB of flash storage, a larger keyboard, a better Webcam, and optional Bluetooth and WiMax modules. Both the Linux and Windows versions of the Eee PC 900 will be more expensive than the current models.

Even though Vista isn't in the cards, Microsoft may view the Eee PC 900 as a nice test-bed for its "software and services" strategy to compete with free and low-cost productivity and communications suites such as Google Docs. The Windows XP version of the Eee PC 900 also includes Microsoft Works and Windows Live services.

I first saw the Eee PC last June at the Computex tradeshow in Taipei. At the time, the company made some bold promises for both the price and shipments. It hasn't met those goals--so far Asus has shipped 350,000 Eee PCs and it plans to ship 3 million to 5 million in 2008--but it has certainly influenced the industry.

Though many stories on Intel's plans for Atom refer to $250 laptops, neither the company nor its hardware partners have said much about the hardware or software specs for netbooks or desktops (Intel is calling these net-tops). Even with a tiny, inexpensive microprocessor, it will still be a challenge to build a laptop around that price--with or without Windows.

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • no Vista and you're surprised?

    No surprise to me there, it's such a bloated operating system... Very nice suggestion with the lightweight Vista idea! Interesting comment from Microsoft exec too. Is this suggesting they are actually going to slim down and get rid of some bloat with Windows 7. It's a promising thought.
  • Vista is irrelevant

    Linux is the future. We don't need Windows 7 or any other Microsoft product. Open software will lead the way because the price is right, it is designed by people who care, and nobody gets locked into one provider.
    • Wrong

      Its designed by amateurs - not people who care. If there's a problem, they'll get round to fixing it when they're bored watching TV; not because its what they're paid to do.
      • re: Bug fix turaround time...

        Funny thing to say. MicroSloth has historically had the longest fix-times in the industry.
        Your comment only verifies that even amateurs can code faster and better than Redmond.
    • Yawn

      You Unix types just don't get it. Open software will never be big. One good reason is the seven hundred variations, parts of this one is godd, parts of that one is good and how are software developers supposed to deal with the hodge podge of UXes. I thought just out of curiousity I would try one as a learning experience, I asked several UX experts which one I should try and got so many conflicting answers that I gave up. I think it's a dog's breakfast for awhile until at least a few hardware manufacturers get together and promote one variation for the masses, then it will gain momentum. But for the time being it's destined to be a minor player in the big leagues.
      • Really?

        [i]But for the time being it's destined to be a minor player in the big leagues.[/i]

        Well you better call the NYSE and tell them its a "dog's breakfast" and they need to move into the "big leagues":

        and the United States Army:

        and don't forget NASA:

        ## NASA coined the term "mission critical".

        You also have to tell Tivo:

        and the Top 500 supercomputer owners, well about 85% of them will need to switch over:

        and the French paramilitary police force needs to see the light:

        along with the City of Munich, Germany:

        and the Spanish region of Extremadura:

        So you need to get busy and let them know they have it all wrong and need to see things from your perspective. ;)
        • Yes really

          As the article was specifically discussing notebook O/S not server, or cluster, or desktop, or whatever else you linked to.
          • Non Sequitur?

            I was responding to the previous post who wasn't writing about notebooks but was posting ignorant comments about about Unix and OSS not being in the "big leagues".

            Remember, reading is fundamental. ;)
          • Want to talk about notebooks?

            You'll be happy to know that only 7 of the top 25 notebooks sold on have Windows installed:


            And yes Apple is Unix. ;)
  • Why Vista?

    You can put Ubuntu or Fedora or (insert favorite distro here) on the Eee PC with Compiz Fusion and get all of the "WOW" you want:

    The Eee PC has just enough graphics power without having to shell out an arm and a leg for a "Vista Capable" notebook with the same graphics features.
    • Want some more "WOW"

      Check out this desktop with Compiz Fusion on the Eee PC:

      The "WOW" is already here. ;)
      • Yawn

        Confused by religion
        • Well you know

          .. I felt the exact same way about Vista after seeing Compiz Fusion, but you know what they say? The best things in life are free. ;)
    • I agree.

      I am so happy with Ubuntu that I dont see a reason for Vista. In fact, we have been helping friends and relatives to get rid of their Vista with Ubuntu or PCLinuxOS in new notebooks.
  • I want my WOW - - - and I want it NOW - - - NOT

    Is anybody really asking for Vista on this class of machine?
    Basic Logic
    • Is anybody really asking for Vista on...

      this (or any other) class of machine?
  • The "Bow Wow" starts here

    ...since Vista is such a dog. ;)
  • Forget Vista, I want a 7-year old deprecated OS!

    Go XP! Woo Hoo!!

    Ummm, yeah.

    Linux, anyone?

    Chris Dawson
    • Someone said Microsoft needs a diet

      When you can't run a low end computer that is currently for sale, you should probably consider cutting some of the fat.

      Windows XP has an embedded edition, I think they need an update of Vista for this.
  • RE: Asus Eee PC 900: The wow starts. . .later?

    The original Asus Eee 701 can handle (any) Linux, Win98, XP, Vista, Win2008, OS/2 and Apple Tiger and Leopard. What more do you want? Free sex?