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Asus ditches Eee name for high-end Netbook

Asus is calling its new Netbook the N10, instead of using the Eee PC name.

Is the world ready for a fancy Netbook?

A high-end luxury Netbook? Seems like an oxymoron, since Netbooks are supposed to be simple, stripped-down, low-cost laptops. (If this is all news to you, check out our Building the Perfect Netbook feature for a primer.)

Asus, the company that single-handedly built the Netbook category with its Eee PC, is reportedly aiming at more upscale consumers with a fancier version of the popular Netbook. The newest version, with a 10.2-inch screen, has some high-end features, including a fingerprint reader, HDMI output, Altec Lansing speakers, and, at least in a few leaked shots, an Express Card slot.

The catch is that Asus is calling it the N10, instead of using the Eee PC name, which has already graced several Netbooks, a low-cost small form factor desktop, and a slew of accessories. We first caught site of this new system on French Web site, which also claims (if our rusty French is correct) it'll cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 330 to 430 euros, which at the current exchange rate of $1.47, is about $486 to $630. No official word on price, specs, or release date so far.