ASUS Eee PC 1218 trades veil of secrecy for popular design award

Well, will you look at that. In its haste to proclaim itself winner of a 2010 Red Dot design award, ASUS has inadvertently or perhaps intentionally announced the brand-new netbook that received it -- the Eee PC 1218. She's a beaut, too, with a slim, one-piece aluminum shell that evokes the MacBook Air but still packs a substantial number of expansion ports. There aren't any hard specs quite yet, but the above shot shows it'll come with a webcam and chiclet keyboard, and in a second pic after the break we can make out three USB sockets, Ethernet, VGA, a pair of 3.5mm audio jacks and an HDMI port -- the last of which possibly suggests a dedicated GPU (here's hoping an Ion 2) for HD video playback. Oh, and lest we forget, ASUS says it's also got a soft-touch plastic underside, for all you coffee-swilling, netbook-slinging butterfingers out there. No word on pricing or availability.