Asus has launched a new super thin netbook called the Asus Eee PC X101, based on the MeeGo operating system.
From the firm that largely created the original netbook craze, Asus appears set on reviving the concept with the X101, returning to a non-Windows OS approach as with the first Asus Eee PC 700.
Just 17.6mm thick and weighing less than 920 grams, the X101 sports a chiclet style keyboard, LED backlight 1024×600 screen and an Intel Atom N435 processor. The device also has a small 8GBN SATA drive and comes with 2GB of DropBox cloud storage.
The X101 was originally announced as being available with a choice of MeeGo or Windows 7 however it seems Asus is choosing to focus on the "Easy-use MeeGO operating system for real netbook usage."
Doubtless the smaller SSD plays a part in hitting the reported $199 price point for the svelte X101. Windows 7 will appear later with the X101H, presumably with a larger drive and a higher price tag.
Asus is also marketing the X101 as a ‘social networking companion’, talking up integration with the likes of Facebook, writing blogs, uploading photos and so on.
Combating the lack of Windows application compatibility, Asus highlighted the inclusion of the "ASUS App store" which we presume is a rebranded storefront for MeeGo apps, as well as the including the Chrome web browser and the Chrome Web store.
The MeeGo-powered X101 could be seen as a competitive entry against the Google Chromebooks which have so far failed to arrive in any volume.
The question remains as to whether consumers can be enticed from the lure of tablets towards a reboot of the netbook category. Asus will be hoping web applications, social media and a low price point will prove an enticing proposition.