Unless ASUS means "$400 under $599," we've got a feeling this e-reading device might as well not try its luck on the market. Nevertheless, word from Taiwan is that the company is indeed preparing an 8-inch LCD-based ebook reader -- with 64 levels of gray, no backlight, and fast refresh times -- to take on the E Ink-powered incumbents this October. Sounds very much like the Eee Tablet to us, but the headline feature of handwriting recognition isn't mentioned, so this could be the same or a slightly different device. A saving grace for this spendy slate may be ASUS' current negotiations for mobile carrier subsidies, which may prevent users from ever having to (directly) clash with that exorbitant price. That also suggests this 8-incher will have 3G connectivity on board, which might make it an appealing straddler of categories if it manages to accessorize itself with a robust web browser and healthy battery life. Let's wait and see, eh?