According to news reports, the Eee Box, low power desktop PC for will be available in Australia in five weeks for $AU429. The unit is a cigar box sized case, and can be piggybacked on an LCD monitor using a VESA mount.
ASUS claims "Green Design" with "earth-friendly materials for reduced CO2 emissions" conforming to the EU's Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment 2002/95/EC (RoHS Directive) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive). ASUS are claiming a saving of up to 90% in energy consumption for the Eee Box B202., but do not appear to have specified any testing for energy use. The unit has WiFi and IPTV software.
But there are some disappointments: this model ships with Microsoft Windows XP Home edition in place of the Linux of the sub-notebook Eee PC. The CPU is the low power Intel Atom N270 (1.6 GHz) but the box has a fan. There is only 1 GB of RAM and a 80 GB (rather than the flash memory of most of the notebook models). There is a SD/MMC Card Reader and Ethernet, but only two USB sockets.
It is a shame ASUS does not seem to be offering a diskless Linux unit with more USB ports for use as a web terminal. Even so it would be useful for applications such as home users, schools and libraries where the user just wants to do some web surfing, email. The unit would also be useful for Digital Signage, mounted on the back of a large LCD or plasma screen for shops, transport terminals and office foyers. Home theatre users might also find the Eee Box useful plugged into their large LCD or Plasma TVs, for occasional web browsing.
ASUS have created a problem for all sub notebook makers with the Eee PC. The other makers have to bring out low cost sub notebooks to compete with the Eee PC, but then these also compete with the own company's other products. A similar problem is about to occur for desktop and large notebook computer makers with the release of the Eee Box. This will undercut the price of desktop computers. It will also undercut the price of large notebook computers which are being used as desktop computers. Why spend thousands of dollars on a desktop or notebook computer, when you can get one for hundreds?
An Indian news item "Asus: E-Monitor & Eee Box Coming Soon" (Techtree, Aug 29, 2008) pointed out that the desktop versions of the ASUS Eee PC should be popular there, being much cheaper than Apple Macs.
The ASUS Eee Box PC, with 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Processor, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, XP Home edition, are being offered for under $US300 on Amazon.com.
But those wanting a faster experience might wait for the new Atom processor.
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