Asus' Eee PC taken for a spin

Last month at Computex, Asus took the wraps off the Eee PC, a cheap ultra-portable notebook aimed to be a sort of commercial alternative to the One Laptop Per Child project's XO laptop. The folks at NotebookReview have now had a chance to get up close and personal with one of the systems, and they've relayed their findings in this article.

According to NotebookReview, the machine is quite speedy despite its 900MHz Intel processor and relatively trimmed-down hardware. It boots in 10 seconds, shuts down in five, and the NotebookReview guys say they didn't see a single hourglass pop up while opening an application. Credit for that speediness is shared between the system's solid-state, flash hard drive and its customized Linux-based operating system. The Eee PC isn't too dumbed-down on the software front, though: it comes with Firefox, Skype, Word/Excel-compatible software, and Kopete, a popular multi-protocol instant messaging client for Linux. There are also games, a photo manager app, presentation-making software, and so on.

According to NotebookReview, Asus intends to make the Eee PC available world-wide in late August. The cheapest variant will include an 8GB solid-state drive and will cost around $250, while another version with a 16GB SSD should cost "somewhat more."

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