Windows XP-powered Eee PC due next week

Asus looks set to unleash its Windows-flavored Eee PC upon the U.S. market just over a month after first announcing the device. At least, that's what Laptop Magazine has learned: the site reports that a version of the Eee PC 4G pre-loaded with Microsoft's Windows XP operating system will become available at Best Buy on April 9.

The April 9 release date fits right within the April time frame quoted by Asus CEO Jerry Shen recently, so it's not particularly surprising. What's more interesting is the new sub-notebook's price. According to both Laptop Magazine and HotHardware, which did a short hands-on test of the system, the XP-based Eee PC 4G will launch at just $399. The "Eee PC 4G-X"—as HotHardware calls it—will apparently have the same specifications as the existing, Linux-based 4G model that also costs $399. In other words, users won't have to pay a premium for either Windows XP or the copy of Microsoft Works that will be included with the new Eee.

Later next quarter, Asus plans to unveil its new Eee PC 900. The 900 model will have an 8.9" display, and statements by Asus officials suggest some iterations of the machine will feature Intel's new Atom processors, touch screens, and possibly built-in GPS hardware. The laptop will also be capable of running Windows XP, although Asus hasn't yet said whether it will be available with XP pre-installed.

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