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Wednesday, 27 January 2010 06:56

Asus redefines netbook category with Eee PC 1201N

Is it just me, or are netbooks becoming as expensive as notebooks? The "high performance" Eee PC 1201N is a case in point.

At a whisker under $A700, the Eee PC 1201N is getting very close to notebook territory. For example, the first retailer's website I consulted after receiving the Asus release offered a 15.6in Toshiba Satellite for less than $A750.

I don't want to get into an argument about the relative merits of different models, but the point is we already know that some proportion of buyers is already confused about what they can expect from netbooks and notebooks.

A $A450 netbook is clearly a different beast to a $1500 notebook, especially if it runs an operating system other than Windows.

Anyway, what does the Eee 1201N have to offer?

Specs include a dual-core Atom 330 CPU and 2GB dual-channel DDR2 RAM for performance, and an Nvidia ION graphics processor driving the 12.1in LED-backlit 1366x768 screen (1080p available via HDMI). Other key features include a 250GB hard disk and Windows 7 Home Premium.


Rene Haas, general manager for notebook GPUs at NVIDIA said, "The ASUS Eee PC 1201N delivers exceptional performance for a netbook. This ION-powered Eee PC is ideal for anyone who wants a netbook with the ability to watch HD video, share and edit photos, play casual game and convert video to a portable media player."

Which brings us back to my hobbyhorse: exactly what is it (leaving aside arbitrary definitions imposed by software or hardware vendors for licensing purposes) that makes a netbook a netbook?

I submit that it has become a Humpty Dumpty term only of use to marketers. With Asus referring to "the Eee PC 1201N's ability to work with visual content, accelerating processor-intensive tasks such as video editing and conversion", it's clear that the netbook has gone beyond the original idea of a cheap, mobile device primarily for accessing web-based content and applications.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.





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