We heard the rumor now ASUS' CEO, Jerry Shen, confirms in an interview with Laptop that ASUS will slap a touchscreen and Windows 7 into a new Eee PC sometime in the second half of 2009. A statement likely to make a few project managers at Microsoft uncomfortable as that cuts into the official early 2010 padding built into their Win7 Gantt charts. The touch-enabled Eee PC model(s) could come in the form of a convertible tablet although Shen wouldn't specify -- he only promised more details in Q1, presumably at CES. Unsurprisingly, ASUS has no plans to put Vista onto Eee PCs at all. Also noteworthy is the introduction of "more exciting" Eee PC rigs in Q1 and Q2 in prices ranging from $250 (yes, $250) to $700. Steadily inching closer to that ellusive $199 Eee PC.
Other interesting points from the interview:
Eee Top all-in-one PC will be released at the end of this month
EeeStick (and compatible games) is to be released soon as both an Eee PC bundle and as a separate accessory (depending upon country) priced somewhere between $50 and $100
Two new "Eee products" (not Eee PCs if we read this correctly) will be announced in January
Eee PC devices will be limited to 10-inch, and smaller displays -- Shen describes the netbook as a platform to consume content whereas a laptop is for creating content
ASUS is focused on improving battery life and startup times on future Eee PCs -- adding more power, like dual-core Atoms, is not a priority