Along with its entry into the e-reader market at CeBit in Germany Tuesday, Asus showed off a sleeker redesign of its popular Netbook lines.
One notable model, the 1018p, stands out. It has a fully aluminum enclosure, a 1,024x600 pixel 10.1-inch screen, and a keyboard that looks very much like those made by another notable laptop manufacturer. Indeed, with the aforementioned keyboard, minimalist design, super-thin casing, and large trackpad, the 1018p seems to be created with Apple fans in mind.
It also has 2GB RAM, a 10-hour battery, and a 250GB hard drive in its stock configuration.
The 1018p runs on the Intel Atom n455 and n475 processors, which haven't been out that long. This means faster Netbooks, running at an apparent 1.83GHz, up from the 1.6GHz typical of the current crop of Netbooks.
Because the 1018p runs on Atom processors, there's a possibility the hackintosh community can find a way to run Apple's OS X on them. Asus Netbooks are popular among OS X fans for just this reason.
The 1018p should be available in May for about $500 in the U.S. And if it can indeed run OS X, then that, combined with the design, makes it look a lot like Asus is trying to covertly court Apple's portable customers away from the MacBook Air, which many find to be a beautiful but expensive alternative. And if Apple decides that's the case, look for the rumored changes in the next version of OS X, which would disable support for Atom processors, to come to bear.