Asustek Computer Inc. on Friday confirmed that it will launch the Eee PC 900 in the U.S. on May 12, and will set $549 as the list price for the new ultralight notebook.
The Eee PC 900, which the Taipei-based computer maker unveiled last Tuesday, can be configured with either Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP Home or the open-source Linux. The price for both configurations, said an Asustek spokesman, is identical: $549.
But there are differences. Users who purchase an Eee PC 900 with Linux, however, receive a laptop that boasts 20GB of flash memory-based storage space. Customers who opt for Windows XP, meanwhile, end up with a machine equipped with only 12GB of solid-state storage.
When asked why the two models pack different quantities of storage space -- and whether the lesser amount was stuck in the XP version because of the licensing fees Asustek must pay to Microsoft -- Asustek spokesman Charlton Ho called it a "strategic decision."
"Cost would be one of the reasons, but not the main one," Ho said in an e-mail. He then proceeded to trumpet the Linux-based system. "Also, [the] Linux version is our main Eee PC model with our unique interface, so the consumer not only can get the great and easy-to-use interface on the Linux version but extra storage space," Ho added.
Both Windows and Linux models pack an 8.9-in. screen, 1GB of system memory, a 1.3-megapixel camera and an Apple MacBook Air-style multi-touch trackpad.
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