Impressive – in just one quarter, Asus has sold over a third of a million EEE PCs:
Taipei (Taiwan) – Asustek has managed to take their Eee little PC and turn it into big sales numbers. In the first quarter of sales, the Eee PC shipped 350,000 units, which is 50,000 more than industry experts’ predictions. The Eee PC will be available at Best Buy in U.S. in 2008, and also in Japan at the same time.
Once the EEE enters the retail channel, I imagine that it’s going to wipe out the low-end of the PC market, especially when the Windows XP version and the new desktop version are released. Surprisingly, NewEgg has managed to keep the EEE in stock, probably because the EEE lineup has broadened to several price points. At the low end there is the $300 “Surf 2G” which has 512 MB RAM and a 2GB SSD (not to mention a choice of pastel colors). Above that is the $350 “Surf 4G” which takes you up to a 4GB SSD. Next is the “classic” EEE 4G at $400, with a webcam and a bigger battery, and above that the “8G” model with an 8GB SSD and 1GB RAM for $500. It’s also worth noting that you can’t upgrade the RAM unless you have a 4G Surf or better, and you can’t upgrade the SSD on any model except the 8G (because on the latter, the SSD is mounted in a mini-PCI slot rather than soldered directly to the motherboard). RAM upgrades used to void the warranty, but ASUS has since caved in that regard.
I am seriously thinking about ordering an EEE this weekend. I have some overseas travel coming up and the advantages of the EEE over my regular Thinkpad, in terms of size, weight, and theft risk, are obvious. I’m not sure which one to spring for. The SSD size is not a concern, given that I can buy an 8GB SD card for $30 (after rebate). The bigger issue for me is eventually upgrading the RAM, because I probably will eventually put XP on it rather than stick with the Linux distro. That really means I need to choose between the 4G and the 4G Surf. Is it worth the extra $50 to have a webcam and bigger battery? Or even the extra $150 for the extra RAM and SSD on the 8G model? I’d welcome opinions from anyone on this.