Asus and Intel seem to be bridging the gap between the fairly humanitarian efforts of the OLPC project and their own Classmate PC efforts, and the recent rash of mini-laptop attempts such as Palm's Foleo and VIA's NanoBook. Specs and launch plans aren't entirely nailed down, but this new Eee PC line has quite a bit going for it, even as crowded as this market is getting. The 7-inch ultraportable is based on an unnamed Intel chipset, and runs regular Windows XP or Linux without a problem, but really shines in its "easy" mode that strips things down to a barebones OS mainly for internet browsing (sound familiar, Foleo?). Asus didn't even leave Palm alone with its Wii comparisons either, stating that the Eee name, which stands for "easy to learn, easy to play, easy to work," also conveniently conjures images of the Wii game console, which is known for being novice-friendly. The Eee line will kick things off with the Eee PC 701, which will sport 802.11b/g WiFi, Ethernet and a modem for connectivity, along with a webcam, 512MB of RAM and a 4, 8 or 16GB flash drive for speedy, reliable storage. The real kicker is that prices for the 2 pound laptop are supposed to start as low as $200, and the Intel / Asus duo won't be aiming this at massive governmental purchases, but instead will be offering it to consumers through traditional retail channels.
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