Asus plans Windows 7-based Eee PCs for 2009

Earlier this month, we said an official AMD presentation pointed to 2009 as Windows 7's release year. Now, Asus CEO Jerry Shen has mentioned a similar release time frame in an interview with Laptop Magazine.

During a brief discussion about operating systems, Shen plainly told the site, "We don't plan on putting Vista on any of the Eee PCs. I think in the future in the second half of next year we will put Windows 7 on Eee PCs. For now it will be Linux and XP and then Windows 7 and not do Vista." In other words, Windows 7 systems should be out in consumers' hands some time next year—a little sooner than the 2010 general availability time frame Microsoft has often suggested—and Eee PCs will get the latest-and-greatest OS release.

Shen revealed a few interesting OS-related details in the interview, too. Laptop Magazine asked if Asus was seeing higher return rates for Linux-powered netbooks, to which Shen replied, "I think the return rate for the Eee PCs are low but I believe the Linux and Windows have similar return rates. We really separate the products into different user groups. A lot of users like the Windows XP, but in Europe a lot of people want the Linux option."

Interestingly, Shen also said Asus will introduce Windows XP-based Eee PCs with an "easy mode" desktop this quarter. On Linux-powered Eees, the "easy mode" takes the shape of a tile-based desktop with tabs and shortcuts to common applications. Users will reportedly be able to switch back to the "full" operating system if they want, though.

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