The Eee PC, which launched in 2007 and has spawned numerous, copycat, diminutive laptops, has relied on built in Wi-Fi and the availability of hotspots for connectivity up until now.
Asus said it plans to add HSDPA connectivity to its Eee PC 901 netbook to enable "convenient and high-speed access to the internet anytime, anywhere".
Users will be able to get downlink and uplink speeds of up to 7.2Mbps and 2Mbps respectively via HSDPA, Asus said. Wi-Fi fans should not despair, however, as the 3.75G 901 will still offer 802.11b/g — or even 802.11n, depending on the operator — as an alternative connectivity technology.
A survey released by broadband analyst Point Topic indicates that mobile broadband up-take is now a more popular method of getting online than Wi-Fi hotspots, with 47 percent of Britons using mobile broadband, compared to 42 percent using Wi-Fi hotspots.
Electronics giant LG recently launched a netbook which it hinted might have built-in 3G in some markets in the world, though not in the UK.
Asus said the HSDPA-packing Eee will be released to market beginning in October 2008.