It's official: Asus has announced that the Eee PC (which we've been tracking since August) will be making its way to North America within the next few weeks. The 2-pound, 7-inch, Linux-based laptop will be available in three configurations priced from $299 to $399.
Though the company has yet to offer details on North American specs, it seems reasonable to believe that we'll be seeing the three top models listed on Asus' global site. The highest-end Eee PC 8G includes an 8GB solid-state drive, 1GB of RAM, a built-in Webcam, and a promised 3.5-hour battery life. The Eee PC 4G incorporates a 4GB drive, 512MB of RAM, a Webcam, and the 3.5-hour battery; while the low-end Eee PC 4G Surf lacks the Webcam and promises only 2.8 hours of battery life. (The entry-level 2G Surf, with a 2GB drive and 256MB of RAM, likely won't be available in the U.S.)
Despite including "PC" in the product name, Asus has gone to great lengths to avoid calling the Eee PC a computer: today's press release describes the device as "a 7-inch gadget designed for first-time mobile Internet gadget users." The emphasis is on a simplified interface that lets users access e-mail, send text messages, and share files. Add in your favorite Webware, and it's possible you might not even need a full-fledged laptop.
Given the fate of that other Linux-based mobile Internet device, the Palm Foleo, we'll be keeping a close eye on this one.