Computer marker Asus let loose with a barrage of innovative product announcements this week at the annual CeBIT conference in Hannover, Germany, including the Eee Keyboard PC and the U and UX Series, designed to appeal to customers who "accept no compromise when it comes to exquisite taste in high fashion."
Three Eee PC products were announced in all; the Eee PC T91, Eee PC 1008HA (the company's follow-up to the S101) and Keyboard PC. The Eee Keyboard PC, which offers the functionality of a desktop PC packed into a lightweight keyboard, won first prize for the CeBIT PreView Awards. The machine's Ultra Wide Band Wireless connectivity allows it to link to TVs and computer monitors, and a 5-inch touch panel provides users with an interactive means of controlling the screen cursor.
The Keyboard PC runs on Windows XP Home Edition and is powered by Intel's Atom processor. Other features include Bluetooth 2.0 capability and WLAN 802.11n network connectivity, along with high-quality speaker and microphone and USB 2.0 ports.
The Eee PC T91 tablet comes with an 8.9-inch swiveling display running a 1024???600 resolution and is powered by Intel's Z520 Silverthorne Atom chipset. Although a 32GB SSD is standard (as is the non-removable battery), Asus is also offering customers a "Disk Expander" memory card slot which expands storage capability.
Also included is a collection of touch-optimized software collectively dubbed "TouchSuite," which offers features such as the ability to zoom in or out of Web pages using fingers via a convenient toolbar in Internet Explorer and a program called FotoFun which allows users to flip through, organize, edit and upload their photos with a flick of the finger.
The lightweight netbook also packs in built-in GPS and TV tuner, Bluetooth and 3G Plus connectivity. Though a price hasn't been revealed, rumors suggest an MSRP of around $500.
Asus' 1008HA netbook rivals Apple's Air in the ultra-portability category, weighing just 1.1 kg and just one inch thick. It features a desktop application bar called Eee Docking that provides one-click access to a full suite of software including Eee Sharing, which makes it possible to synchronize Eee PCs with other computers and share messages and documents with other Eee PC users even without Internet access.
The company managed to pack a 92 percent-scaled keyboard, multitouch touchpad, instant key access to Wi-Fi and the touchpad lock, a microphone, 1.3 megapixel camera, and wireless connectivity options such as 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, 3.75G and WiMAX into the netbook's pearlescent casing.
The growth in netbook sales has resulted in a wide variety of options for midmarket companies looking to buy a PC on a tight budget. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo and Sony, to name a few, all offer fully functional and compact netbooks all for less than $1,000 and some as low as $299. For small and medium-size businesses that crave mobility and full-blown feature sets, netbooks can offer an affordable alternative to laptops.
However, it is important to keep in mind netbooks also offer hackers easy access to data, because many netbooks don't come with the security software found on PCs and laptops. Midmarket companies considering netbooks need to ensure they have the necessary security software installed after purchasing one. And, as with laptops, don't forget to take it with you when you leave whatever caf??Â« you are in or mode of transport you are taking.