ASUS Eee PC in Australian stores by Xmas

Low cost laptop runs on Linux or Windows

ASUS has announced its low cost Eee PC will be available in Australia just in time for the silly season, with a recommended retail price of $499.

The laptop went on sale in the US today and will be rolled out gradually across Europe and Asia from November 9, and will hit Australian stores in December.

According to ASUS, the Eee PC is more compact than most PCs, is lightweight (less than one kilogram) and rugged, with a flash storage drive in place of a hard drive and built-in Wi-Fi.

The first Eee PCs run a Linux-based operating system; however ASUS will also offer versions running Windows XP and Vista by the time it arrives in Australia.

According to ASUS president, Jerry Shen, the company is aiming to ship 400,000 units by the end of the year, and hopes to hit 3.8 million units next year.

The Eee PC is aimed at the education market and its name is based on three Es: Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play.

ASUS Australia managing director Ted Chen said that "applications on PCs today are mostly online, whether it is checking e-mails and communicating via other methods such as instant messaging or voice over IP, utilizing online share spaces, or simply reading news".

"Being online has now become a big part of daily computing operations for work and fun, for young and old," he said.

Chen said the Eee PC is aimed at giving everyone a chance to own a PC and take part in the mobile Internet experience.

Several different Eee PC configurations have been launched in the US; however no confirmation on the availability of alternate configurations for Australian stores is currently available.

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