Computer maker Asus has announced its Eee PC mini laptop is to get embedded 3G for the first time.
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 from October 2008 onwards.