ASUS’ addition to the budget Eee laptop range, which adds a larger, 8.9-inch 1024×600 screen as well as increased storage courtesy of SSD rather than flash memory (up to 12GB in fact), may get a WiMAX and/or HSDPA option this year. In an interview with LAPTOP Magazine, ASUS CEO Jerry Shen revealed how only deals with carriers and, in the case of WiMAX, a big enough network are standing in the way of mobile broadband on the Eee.
“I think the Eee PC is all about mobility and the Internet experience when you are outside is so important on the device. WiMax and HSDPA built-in will be a goal for us. I think these kinds of features will be out in Q3 2008. We have the module for HSDPA and a lot of carriers and telecoms could take advantage of this. We will put the module in the machines when our partnerships with Telecoms are in place. For Wi-Max we are waiting for the maturity of this connection. We will put the Wi-Max in when it’s ready but will be aiming to have both by Q3″Jerry Shen, CEO, ASUS
Shen also suggested that the Eee will be upgraded to Intel’s Diamondville chipset, with commercial availability in May. The Eee has proved far more successful than ASUS expected – shipping almost 700,000 after predicting just 200,000 – and battery shortages have hampered their ability to deliver. Shen expects consistent battery supplies to be established by May.
The 8.9-inch ASUS Eee is expected to be priced at around $499.