It's a bit later than the mid-December target heard previously, but ASUS' 12-inch Ion-packing Eee PC 1201N is up for pre-order with an anticipated January 15 release. A penny short of $500 takes home a dual-core N330 processor clocking 1.6GHz on the Atomic clock, 2GB of DDR2 memory with room to expand to 8GB, a 250GB 5,400 RPM hard disk, Bluetooth, 802.11n WiFi, webcam, and fancy new 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium OS -- none of that Starter Edition netbook nonsense. Here's the rub: are you really going to pull the trigger for a legacy Diamondville-class Atom lappie now knowing that the big CES event in January will likely be flooded with Intel's latest Pineview-class machines sporting new N450 Atom processors, of which, at least a few will offer HD video acceleration? Pre-order now if you want but we'd wait until January 11th to see what might get announced.

[Thanks, Luke F.]

Update: We've been in touch with ASUS' UK team and can confirm that Blighty will be getting its chance at Ion-infused nirvana at a similar time, "mid-January" they say, and at the slightly higher price of £399 ($663).

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ASUS Eee PC 1201N Ion-based Seashell ready for $500 Amazon pre-order