Asus CEO: Get ready for Atom-based Eee PCs

The Eee PC has been a hot topic of discussion ever since its launch last year, and Asus generated renewed hype with its announcement of the 8.9" Eee PC 900 and Windows XP-powered Eees last week. In the wake of these launches, the guys at Laptop Magazine have interviewed Asus CEO Jerry Shen to learn a little more about what's in store for the Eee lineup in coming months.

The most interesting tidbit in the interview is probably Shen' statement that Eee PCs based on the Intel Atom processor should hit the market as early as May. According to Shen, Atom's 45nm process tech gives it a power efficiency edge over VIA's 65nm Isaiah, and Atom is "very competitive" from a price standpoint. Shen says Asus is also mulling the addition of conventional hard drives to the Eee line, which is currently entirely based on solid-state drives. If Asus does decide to make HDD-based Eees, Shen suggests they won't come until the second half of the year.

Beyond forecasting future hardware changes to the Eee, Shen gave Laptop Magazine some details about the recently announced Eee PC 900. He says this new model will hit stores in April at $499, and that it will be available in two versions: one with an 8GB solid-state drive and Windows XP, and another one with either a 12GB or a 20GB solid-state drive and the usual Xandros Linux distribution (Asus hasn't settled on the storage capacity for that model yet). Shen goes on to say the 7" display and 800 x 480 resolution on the Eee PC 700 is "too small," and he adds that the 900 will probably get a price cut in June.

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