CES does not officially open its doors until Thursday, but already many people are in Las Vegas, and the meetings have begun. One area where we've already noticed a difference from previous years is in the availability of hotel rooms. Yes, the economic slump is rearing its ugly head once again, and several people we've talked to commented on the availability of rooms in downtown Las Vegas, even in late December. Not only are the rooms available, but pricing on hotel suites is down anywhere from 20% to 50% compared to previous years! Not that we're complaining about the prices, but it will be interesting to see how much of an impact the economy has had on the show itself.

Several of us from AnandTech arrived on Tuesday, in time for the ASUS press conference.  There is no doubt that ASUS has seen a lot of success with the Eee brand over the past year (Eee stands for Excellent, Exciting, Easy -- or Easy to Learn, Easy to Work and Easy to Play depending on which slide you're looking at), and with success comes repetition.  The Eee PC and netbooks in general are new and interesting, true, and there are plenty of uses for such devices.  However, we do like to see innovations in other areas of the industry.  Certainly ASUS isn't focusing solely on Eee brand hardware, but you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise after the media event. 

With over $22B in sales for 2007, ASUS is huge. Around 40% of all desktop motherboards shipped worldwide come from ASUS. But growth in the mobile space is just ridiculous thanks to ASUS’ Eee line of netbooks. Total ASUS mobile shipments increased 166% in Q3 2008 compared to Q3 2007 thanks to the Eee line. The 40 minute presentation by ASUS chairman Jonney Shih introduced several new concepts for the Eee Family.  Most of the changes seem to focus on adding more features and options into various netbooks.

The Eee PC T91 and T101H were both introduced (8.9" and 10.2" chassis, respectively), with one of the major additions being a touch sensitive interface.  These models also feature a tablet PC display, so you can rotate it in fold flat against the keyboard if you prefer.  ASUS provided some demos of new interface ideas, but if you've ever seen a tablet PC you have a good idea of what to expect -- only in a netbook rather than a tablet PC.  Pricing on these devices on the other hand will be very interesting, considering tablet PCs have formerly cost significantly more than competing ultraportables.  The new touchscreen devices in the Eee Family will also support multi-touch, which could open the doors for some innovative ideas.

The T91

The T101H

The T101H in tablet mode

An optional TV Tuner and GPS will be available for the Eee PC touch models.

An Affordable iMac: The Eee Top
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  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - link

    Heya Jarred,

    Their forum pages still load atrociously slow. They're also very unorganized, meaning instead of having several categories under motherboards such as how ABIT's site used to be laid out, you have to wade through tons of garbage to find what you're looking for. Yes, we all know of the search function (at least it should have one ), but sometimes people like to read about varying products so they know what to expect.

    You're not Asus, I understand that, but maybe you could mention it to someone who could remedy that. I am personally not very big on Asus products, but fixing this one issue for me could change my mind a good deal since I am a small business systems integrator who likes to keep on top of known issues.
  • KeypoX - Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - link

    And more importantly Andriod!!! I hope it can do some damage, because win 7 is not that great... not much of a upgrade to vista.

    Netbooks are looking more and more attractive.
  • KeypoX - Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - link

  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - link

    Love the new products, but I'm worried the article for builder's is going to get pushed because of CES.

    Mr. Fink, you're not at CES are you? :)
  • Icewind31 - Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - link

    however I'm sorta still hyped up about that EEE Box w/ the HD3400 graphics... they made the announcement.. but since then... no release date or anything! Have definitely been waiting for them to release it.
  • Spivonious - Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - link

    It reminds me of the old Apple IIC; just connect a display and you're good to go.

    I'm curious how much the wireless HDMI recievers cost. It would be neat if they were built into TVs, so I could just pull the keyboard out from under the coffee table and start using the computer.
  • acejj26 - Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - link

    The saying goes, "You innovate your way out of a recession," and this is exactly what Asus is doing. The new products look amazing.
  • R3MF - Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - link

    that is what i want to see.
  • Roland00 - Thursday, January 8, 2009 - link

    You are going to have to wait, for several reasons

    1) Ion was just announced a few weeks ago and is still in the prototype stage, thus any possible laptop would still be in the idea stage and unless Asus or similar brands were working extremely closely with nvidia they probably don't even have the blueprints for the motherboards.
    2) The dual core atoms have double to triple (depending on which atotm to atom you are comparing it to) the watts required to run the laptop thus draining battery faster. Thus you may have to wait for the new 32nm atoms.
    3) Finally it is in the netbook companies best interest to release a netbook with a windows os (due to more marketshare, for better or worse people are less likely to buy a netbook with a non windows os). Microsoft in its rules for XP on netbooks says no dualcore atoms or more ram than 1 gig. Thus unless a company puts windows vista basic on the nettop you are probably waiting for windows 7.

    Thus we probably won't see atom/ion notebooks until at least q3 09 and maybe not until q4 09/q1 10

    here are microsoft's rules in short on what a netbook has to have to have xp home on it.

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