If there were an award for most fecund tech company, Asus would be the shoe-in; not only have they been cranking out new iterations of their uber-successful Eee PC laptop and thinking up new gaming devices, but they’re now releasing a sharp-looking wood-trimmed laptop — the “Eee Box,” a barebones, low-cost desktop PC in a slim form factor.
The bamboo-trimmed laptop is called the U6, and Asus intends for it to be their “fashionable” mobile machine. That’s debatable; while the palm-rest is accented with nice-looking stained bamboo wood, the organic pieces look like a somewhat disjointed addition to this otherwise-normal, grey-colored notebook. The U6 is the real-world successor to a concept laptop Asus revealed some months ago, which was made completely of bamboo and called the EcoBook (heat management issues forced Asus to nix the design.) The more practical U6 will cost around $2,000 MSRP, but no word yet on US availability.
If you’re on the other end of the computer shopping spectrum — looking for a three-digit pricetag — then you might be happy to learn that Asus has finally released the desktop counterpart to their Eee PC subnotebooks. The Eee Box B202 will be available in the US in mid-July, and will run on a 1.6GHz Inel Atom processor and come in Windows XP and Linux versions. Both OS packages are pretty cheap, starting at $269 for the Linux version and topping out at $299 for the XP box. Hardware specifications are customizable, with memory running from 512MB to 2GB and hard disks running from 80GB to 250GB. Wi-fi (802.11n) is included, as are a vast array of ports that make the Eee Box a potential streaming TV box. There is no option for HDMI out, however, and no option for an optical drive either, which places limitations on that particular usage, but for many folks that won’t be a deal breaker.