We got our first glimpse at a computing future filled with low-cost, ARM-based ASUS smartbooks running Android on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor all the way back on June 1st. Since then, however, the pencil-spinning boys in Taiwan have been poo-pooing plans to launch such a device due to what ASUS called an uncertain market opportunity -- or was it pressure from Wintel, we never can tell? Then yesterday, ASUS' Jerry Shen pulled an about-face at an investor meeting in Taipei with talk of launching a $180 smartbook in Q1 of 2010. Bristling with confidence, Shen goes so far as to call it a "secret weapon" in a category offering potential for huge, Eee PC-like growth. Well, with the first big-name smartbooks just starting to ship, even a dozen or so sales could be considered statistically significant.

[Via Shanzai]