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Low-cost Asus 'Eee Phone' confirmed

An Asus representative has confirmed that an 'Eee Phone' will arrive later this year, a product of the recently announced partnership between the company and Garmin

An Asus Eee mobile phone will arrive later this year, and it's speculated that it will run Google's Android operating system.

As our own Andrew 'stairs not lifts' Lim reported this morning, Asus and GPS-system manufacturer Garmin have glued brands together to form Garmin-Asus, which will manufacturer mobile phones.

According to an Asus representative jawing with a PC World reporter, Garmin-Asus will announce an 'Eee Phone' later this year, which will tread in familiar Eee territory, being low in cost and high in ease of use.

The Eee brand started with netbooks -- an area of the computer market in which Asus is a strong performer -- and it has been extended to low-cost desktops, and even computer monitors. For Asus, moving into the low-cost phone market is, on the surface, a logical progression for the brand.

But the popularity of affordable plastic netbooks may be largely to do with the fact that it's a relatively new category. The low-end phone market, however, will pitch Garmin-Asus up against Nokia and Sony Ericsson, and that's going to be a battle with many more swords and much, much more bleeding.

We'll be at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, where Garmin-Asus will be exhibiting. Keep your eyes peeled.