Though bearing some of the hallmarks of a Netbook, the Asus Eee PC X101 will be offered as an alternative to that category of small laptops, according to an Asus blog post.
Asus spelled out today that the X101 is a departure from the Netbook as we know it. First of all, it's even thinner and lighter than a traditional Netbook (which is already pretty light and thin to begin with) at 0.69-inches and two pounds, respectively.
Second, it runs MeeGo Linux, not Windows--the latter has been the predominant operating system for Netbooks over the last few years. MeeGo is more suited to ultrasmall designs that typically don't pack the horsepower to run Windows 7 efficiently.
"Since MeeGo is open source we are free to tweak it so we have added a consolidated MyZone social networking hub and directly injected our Cloud services such as @Vibe and Cloud storage," Asus' Eee PC Product Manager Brian Tang said in the blog.
Third, it loses the VGA and Ethernet ports, as Tang explains. "Despite being shaped like a regular Netbook, the target market is more towards tablets. With this in mind we've taken the step to remove the VGA and Ethernet ports in order to fit the X101 into its new ultra-slim profile," he said.
A quick comparison could be made to Chromebooks offered by Samsung and Acer, but those are at least $150 more and come with Google's Chrome OS, which is essentially the Chrome browser.
Other X101 specs include 10.1-inch LED display, Intel Atom N435 or N455 processor, 1GB of memory, 8GB solid-state drive, Bluetooth, camera, two USB 2.0 ports, and four-hour battery life (3-cell standard).
The launch date hasn't been announced yet but it is a safe bet that the X101 will arrive soon, as the blog item was posted "in preparation for the X101 launch," according to Asus.
Alas, Asus will also offer a model--the X101H--with Windows 7 Starter that has more storage and keeps the Ethernet and VGA ports. But that design won't be as sleek and will address a market that is most likely on its last legs, at least in the U.S.