The second generation of the Asus Eee PC, which we first wrote about earlier this month, will apparently include a few more features unseen on its predecessor. DigiTimes is reporting that the laptop's 9-inch display will be a touch-screen panel, and the new models may include GPS support. The presumed launch date for the next-generation Eee PCs remains May or June of this year.
While I welcome the larger screen size (it's better for Web browsing), I've never found a touch screen to be that much of a bonus outside of a tablet form factor. The possible GPS support seems more helpful; paired with some decent software you can potentially eliminate the need for a separate navigation unit.
But I can't help wondering if these developments are pulling the Eee PC from its primary selling point: low price. Reports have priced the second-generation model anywhere from $500 to $600. Granted, that's not much more than the current Eee PC, and it does include such welcome improvements as increased RAM and a larger drive. But it also teeters dangerously close to the cost of more full-featured budget laptops from the major manufacturers. In a field that seems to grow more crowded every day, will consumers accept a slightly higher price point? Will you?