Asus shows new Eee PC with larger screen

The anticipated new version of Asus' low-cost Eee PC with a larger screen has made its debut at the Cebit trade show.

The new "Eee PC 900" model sports an 8.9-inch screen -- a couple of inches larger than the 7-inch display on the original computer -- and more storage space. It has a 12GB, solid-state disk drive (SSD), which is 50 percent greater than the largest drive available on current machines.

SSDs are replacements for hard-disk drives that store data on flash memory. They offer better performance and lower power consumption but are more expensive.

Other features of the new computer include 1GB of memory, Ethernet connection, 802.11b/g wireless LAN, 1.3-megapixel camera and a card reader for MMC, SD and SDHC memory cards. About 3.5 hours of battery life is expected from the computer's 4-cell battery, said Asus.

The machine is due on sale in the middle of this year and will cost US$606.

Asus has high hopes for the expanded Eee PC range and hopes to sell between three million and five million of the machines this year. Since its launch last year sales have totaled about 350,000 units.

The basic model is currently available in four configurations with the main difference being the size of the SSD storage. The cheapest model packs just 2GB of space while the most expensive of the four has an 8GB SSD.

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