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back to article Asus to phase out sub-10in Eee PCs, says CEO

Buy your 7in and 8.9in Eee PCs while you can - Asus is going to phase them out next year, company chief Jerry Shen has revealed. Don't expect it to happen all of a sudden - Shen told DigiTimes it'll happen slowly. However long it takes, it's clear that Asus sees the 10in form-factor as the emerging standard for netbooks. Shen …

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Gates Horns

Good thinking.

Good thinking. As we all know, netbooks' strengths are Windows, fault prone hard drives and large physical dimensions.

Are people who insist on SSD, linux-based OS and long battery life just a pathetic minority? Am I the only one??

Also - $200? That'll be about £340 in Ol' Blighty then.

Thank God it's Friday and Fallout 3 is waiting for me at home, otherwise I'd have to eat my mouse in anger/boredom.

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Dead Vulture

Is ASUS Going to take away our 7" and 8.9" Eee's!!??

Is this "journalist" a moron are what? Where the hell did he get his "writing" credentials? 5th Grade? This writing style belongs more on the tabloids or Barak Obama's speech writing team.

QUOTE: "Enjoy your 7in and 8.9in Eee PCs while you can..." WHAT is ASUS Going to take away our 7" and 8.9" Eee's that we already own!!?? That's essentially what this dope is writing!

Learn how to write, go back to "writing school", you dope.

No make sure you clowns at THE REG censor this so your dope writer isn't embarrassed.

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Paris Hilton

Faecal fan interface

You can see from MS' perspective that making netbooks back into 'real' PCs again is a good thing. From a manufacturers perspective it is a disaster waiting to happen. After a few weeks of constant XP updates and an ever swelling registry, your once nimble XP netbook is nothing more than an old, underpowered, slow loading craptop. One which isn't easily upgraded. Cue customer backlash and a sharp fall in sales. If PCs are appliances, then PCs have to behave like a cooker/fridge/TV, not like some 1970s eastern european car.

If MS can produce a piece of software that maintains the performance of an underpowered PC until it dies, then there is hope for MS yet.

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Bronze badge

It's the components

Partly, this is going to be down to the costs of smaller screens, compared to the 10-inch ones.

But XP? Have the Linux geeks been shooting themselves in their collective foot? I know people who have been pretty scathing about Xandros. You'd think it was worse than Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

NetBOOK?

Books are small. It's beginning to look more like a netzine.

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Have the Linux geeks been shooting themselves in their collective foot?

No, MS have been shooting the CEO a wodge of money.

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Sad end...

Strikes me that what started out as a range of tiny, cheap and robust devices that you could run WinXP or Linux on (I'll stick to being agnostic) is turning into a yet another range of cheap laptop.

At 10 inch, they're not particularly small, and moving away from SSDs takes away the robustness.

Shame.

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And the Commentard of the week goes to...

Webster Phreaky!

Quality FoTW material, marred only by a lack of spelling mistakes.

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In a smoke filled room

Man from MS: I see the percentage of Windows-based systems you've been selling has decreased lately.

Man from ASUS: Yes, although we sell many Windows systems, we believe in offering our customers choice, and some of them choose not to use Windows, so we feel we should not be charging them for Windows.

Man from MS: You do know that your "most favoured partner" volume licence deal requires you to ship xx% of systems with a Windows licence, otherwise your Windows deal changes and we will have to charge you closer to market prices, which will make your products less competitive against other "most favoured partners" such as Dell and HP.

Man from ASUS: Hmm. I see what you mean. Is Windows 7 ready yet, because Vista is an irrelevance in this market (and elsewhere) and you know it.

Man from MS: Don't worry, especially for you and our other "most favoured partners" we are extending the sales life of Windows XP, and Windows 7 GUI is being leaked as we speak, to make people think we feel their pain and intend to do something about it.

Man from ASUS: Excellent. Trebles all round.

Have a nice weekend.

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Anonymous Coward

3 word solution -

acer aspire one

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@Webster

Erm.... not sure if the story has been edited since you posted but is the line you're on about this one: "Buy your 7in and 8.9in Eee PCs while you can" Can't find the word enjoy in the whole article...?

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Farewell

Goodbye Asus

Hello MSI, Dell, Acer, HP and yes even Maplin!...........................

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Can't say I'm surprised

Asus' clear strategy has been trying to upsell people to higher end netbooks.

If I was going for a new netbook I'd probably look at the Acer Aspire One - it's only 180 quid on Amazon now, even if it is the one with the crap battery life.

I remain sceptical about the comment about pricing plunging. Is the reporter very sure that this referred to the netbooks - for which plunging to 123 quid with a higher screen and spec might be quite a drop, or to the desktop PCs, which contain laptop components, slow processor and no screen, and are thus currently overpriced?

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What they mean is...

... The sub 10 inch, SSD, linux netbook is going commodity and will be poured out in the millions by sweetshops. The market is established and the technology is readily available. Prices will hit rock bottom. Asus can't make any money in those markets so they are moving into the protected world of Microsoft.

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SSD FTW

I think some of this is down to the relatively small size of SSD's in the current gen. When 20-32gb drives are available for a price that makes sense for a netbook.

Personally mines an 7-8" screen with SSD - but Im OS agnostic.

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Flame

Guess I'll be phasing out my buying of eeePCs

Sorry, after my Palm products and Nokia N800, I don't want another orphan product. If it's too big to fit in a pocket, I'll stick with my Compaq laptop.

And I was actually thinking of buying one after seeing what was left over from paying my house taxes this month... Thank god Asus saved me from buying one of their products. Seems they're good for motherboards and that's about it.

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Unhappy

What the fuck, Asus.

I thought we had something special.

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Gold badge

Believe it when you see it.

A machine with a ten-inch screen for £123 would be remarkable, even next year, and even given the economic uncertainty. (How much is £123 going to be worth next year?)

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Resolution...

Well, I'd have gone for the 8.9" Eee in order to get the higher resolution screen, and the 10" machine is only slightly larger. Put 1024x600 in a 7" form factor and I'd definitely have bought one. As it is, I went with the Mini-note's 1280x768, and Asus lost a sale.

I'll be back to my old Librettos if I want something really small, then.

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Resolution...

Well, I'd have gone for the 8.9" Eee in order to get the higher resolution screen, and the 10" machine is only slightly larger. Put 1024x600 in a 7" form factor and I'd definitely have bought one. As it is, I went with the Mini-note's 1280x768, and Asus lost a sale.

I'll be back to my old Librettos if I want something really small, then.

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Anonymous Coward

No recommendation from me then

Microsoft's Windows, from XP to Vista (including 7 if it is Vista Mk II), is totally unsuitable for this type of machine so when they make them XP only I will no longer be able to recommend EEE-PC's to anyone. My recommendations have been to get Linux as it is more suited to this machine. If any don't like the installed Linux then I let them have a play with various distributions and then install that.

For this to happen Microsoft must have put immense pressure on Asus. I do not believe that they decided this all by themselves. And to believe that the Windows version has been selling 70/30 must also be a lie, because whenever I read about laptots it always appears that the Windows version is on the shelf and the Linux version has shifted faster! This was even stated by an Asus employee as well, as far as I can remember.

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Linux

Curate's egg

I'll take the ten inch size if it means more pixels on the screen and little extra weight. I'm doubtful on the latter. Unless screen technology is advancing, the backlight power needed for a given brightness and technology is proportional to area, and so it will need a bigger battery or have a shorter battery life (hence the extra quarter kilo).

As for a disk with moving parts and seek delays, no thanks.

Windows? Well, linux ones *ought* to be cheaper, though I'm happy to overwrite Windows myself if the price is right.

And I'm sure someone will continue to make 9 inch netbooks with small SSDs and linux, now they know that they sell.

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Why did I buy my asus ?

4 reasons:

1) it was small - does not fill my brief case

2) It runs Linux

3) It was cheap

4) It had SSDs and would thus be robust

Well, the market being what it is - I expect someone else to fill the niche -- until Ballmer's cheque educates them about the errors of their ways!

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jim
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they all succumb to 'bloat'

I'm typing this on an ASUS 900 (8.9" screen, flash drive) that I carry around on my bicycle. Wouldn't dream of buying a 10" HD model.

Manufacturers simply can't resist the siren song telling them that every new model has to be bigger and "more powerful". Sorry to see ASUS is no exception. No one actually thinks this is a good idea, including most of the people at ASUS; it's just marketing hysteria that's impossible to beat back.

Other manufacturers will fill the gap, real fast.

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10" is too big

Once up to to that sort of size I might as well get a fully-fledged laptop. My Aspire One (with Linux & SSD) is an ideal size for carrying around easily. I've sat in meetings and used VNC to get back to my desktop machine for things that needed processing grunt, otherwise the netbook is perfectly capable of everything else I need it for on the road. Its battery has outlasted even the longest and most tedious meetings.

Sorry Asus, you're not going to get me to pay for a 10" screen, HD and Windows when I don't need them. I might consider 10" screen, SSD and Linux if you're still in that market, I'll use the cost saving to buy a bigger backpack.

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Linux

FFS

I love my 701 because its small, robust and had a good battery life and boots up in seconds.

It kills me that the things that makes them most appealing are all the things they are going to miss off the new ones. I've got a laptop for the serious stuff, I just want something to surf the web on, pack in my bag and take with me and not break my back carrying it.

Shame about XP only too. I hate windows, but each to their own. But what bothers me is the effective dropping of open source. Can't help but think that all the driver support will effectively stop. Also can't help but think some Microshite $$'s have helped influence the XP only move. (but I may be paranoid).

Mines the one with the 701 in the pocket (rather than in the *laptop* bag)

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Pirate

Just another laptop, then....

Marketing people are the pits. If I want a small laptop then I can get something starting at around $500. It won't be that good but its the same as the Asus. The eePC is something else but its probably too useful -- unilt MSFT runs out of money to spray around to get people who stray back on the program we're going to have more of this.

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@alain williams

My reasoning exactly....and they're tough

A user (not me honestly) spilt 1/2 litre of latte into my 701. Battery out, under the tap, in front of a fan heater for a couple of hours and the little fella was right as ninepence.

I was impressed...

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re: they all succumb to 'bloat'

I am with Jim, if ASUS stop making the SSD smaller models then my next one will not be ASUS.

I am just upgrading my Ubuntu Netbook Remix to "intrepid " on my 900. I have a usb gps and usb DVB TV attached to mine (as needed) and an extra 16gb SD card. It was all working beautifully with "hardy" - fingers crossed. The default Xandros is rubbish, I wonder if ASUS do it deliberately to get people to use XP.

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jim
Unhappy

Xandros = boat anchor

The first one I bought was the 701 with Xandros. I'm a Windows guy but I thought I'd get to like Linux. Big mistake. No support, no updates, no communication, Changing or installing anything meant 2 days of Googling and begging for help on forums.

After a couple of months I Ebayed it and got an XP model. Sad, but now I have a useful, maintainable system.

I think ASUS just wanted to get MS to the bargaining table, by pretending to get behind Linux. They bought a one-time paste-up from Xandros and drop-shipped it to customers.

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Unhappy

RIP the original SCC

A sad day for computing

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Anonymous Coward

I am not paying for a crap OS

as long as they are available sans operating system, with the appropriate price tag, and the drivers are available, I don't care what they sell to the numpties.

If they won't sell without an OS, then I am sure others will.

ASUS are big players in the hardware world, and they have to do what they think is best for their profit margin. They have given a lot of exposure to Linux, and they even have bootsplash on the MBs so they have done their bit really.

If they have worked out that most will only buy if windows is on the machine, and they have had a quick hows your father from MS. so what.

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Paris Hilton

love

I love my 8.9" Eee PC 900. At 990g I can carry it around all day and not even notice, and at AUD $500, the price was right. Of course I wiped XP off it and replaced it with Linux. Who needs XP, or an Atom processor, or a 10" screen? A little more battery power would be good, but I can live without it.

Paris, because I love her too.

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Maybe it just won't sell as small and linux?

Oh dear. I see the usual morons have jumped on board.

Perhaps the reason has sod all to do with Microsoft (although I love the game to blame them, it's good fun).

Perhaps people actually *want* a smallish laptop device running the windows they know and will instantly work with everything they already own happily outside the tech/geek/nerd/os-bigot crowd?

Maybe most people think the screen size is too small (hint: from my experience, they generally do, as I've got a 8.9" unit which is "too small") as I'm told repeatedly.

Maybe people would take SSD if they held more data?

The good news is that we've got choice in the market now, so we don't all have to take sub-standard eee-PC systems and can choose something to meet our needs, with or without windows.

I doubt MS are the key player here. They weren't even keen on having XP as an option - but had to back down once they realised they'd get 0% of the pie. But I don't think they're "actively" encouraging it either - if they were they'd allow XP Pro etc.

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Linux

My Xmas list's done !

Linux eee901 for everyone while I can ! I can't believe how backward that move is. Sub-10" are so well balanced between power / size / usability / price I consider them to be true artworks. I can lug a 701 along my full sized laptop everywhere I go. I wouldn't do it with a 10". Everyone I showed it wanted to buy one on the spot. 10" are laptops, not netbooks. Hopefully, if Asus leaves that market, we can hope some chinese OEM will pick up the concept, but the quality won't be the same.

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Jobs Horns

good point

<quote>The default Xandros is rubbish, I wonder if ASUS do it deliberately to get people to use XP.</quote>

Good point. the linpus on the aspire one is as bad as it sounds. update broke networking, useful apps wouldn't install (dependency hell), no LAN browsing, sound not working properly. I put Lenny on mine, but I bet ordinary users take it back and get XP.

These companies are giving linux a bad name amongst the general consumer public by installing badly home-customised distros. Just what MS ordered!

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You mean a laptop with a crap screen?

I think that Asus, having kick-started the whole sector, are shooting themselves in the foot.

10" is too big, particularly with a 1024x600 screen. HDDs are fragile (and soon will be out-performed even by cheap SSDs). XP, well, do I really need to say any more.

All they are doing is moving out of the laptot sector and proposing to sell what are essentially not very good laptops. You can buy an Acer Aspire One (which is a better laptot than any of Asus' anyway) for £170 now. There is no way Asus will be selling theirs for this price (look at their current range for confirmation of this) so they are just shooting themselves in the foot.

Goodbye Asus, thanks for starting it all anyway.

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Gates Horns

XP only.. not for me...

Recently I got some email advertising ASUS Eee notebooks being "on sale", all had the M$ XP Logo prominently placed, nowhere was there an option for an alternative. The Linux version was not mentioned anywhere, as if it did not exist. Most likely (and I'm guessing here) M$ is subsidising the advertising and promotion of the product, reducing the marketing costs for ASUS, sad really, because Microsoft is not ASUS's customer and the success of their little netbook was not achieved on the shoulders of M$.

The report that HDD models account for 70% of the models shipped and XP is ahead of Linux by the same amount is pure spin. When the XP model is the only one available and the only way to get a HDD is when it is bundled with XP then of course the numbers are going to match up. If ASUS really wants to see what the market will buy then make both OS's available in equal quantities on exactly the same hardware and with equal levels of promotion. Make sure that the price of XP and Linux are included on the invoice. Compare apples to apples, the only difference should be the OS.

This is not the 1975, when, without things like M$'s BASIC, hardware such as the Altair & IMSAI were not much more than big expensive paperweights. This is 2008, and, while there initially were different operating systems available for this machine now only one appears to be actively promoted... the end-user is not doing the promotion.

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Just traded my 701

for a 901. If I'd known that I was getting some backwards steps on the software I'd have thought twice about it - the 701 was better configured. Still, the Asus won because of the quality of the 701, the lack of a HDD, and Asus's quality (dropped it from bench height onto a tiled floor - it bounced and kept running. That sold me on Asus.) Xandros is ok once it's pimped, but they'd have to pay me to run Windwoes on a netbook. This may be my last one, then.

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idiots

My son bought a 10 inch model, and it was way too big for me. At that size I might as well carry on lugging the 15.4 notebook around.

The 8.9 model my daughter bought is in real danger of being confiscated, I could tuck that into any old bag and the screen and keyboard are perfectly usable.

All Ii'm waiting for is a Linux/SSD/8.9 model with 3g built in.

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@Webster

Given your pitiful attempt at communicating in the English language I can only assume that you never attended "writing school" or indeed school of any description. Let's be clear about this, did you go to school OR what? Do they have special writing schools where you live? Schools hereabouts tend to cover a wide curriculum.

Can I hereby "bagsy" a new law? Jonsey's Law: "Any internet posting criticising another's use of language will contain many more errors than the original."

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Coat

Disgusted

10" is too big for my pocket.

Mine's the one with the Eee PC 701 in the pocket.

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In bed with Microsoft..

Asus aren't even selling 901 or 1000 Eee PCs in France.. obviously they're in bed with Microsoft.

I'm fed up with waiting.. Acer Aspire One it is for me.

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netbook

My main computer is a 12" ultra portable. 10" is too close to be worthy as a second computer for me. So long Asus. I guess I'll just have to wait for a good MID, UMPC or 8" netbook.

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Someone else will take the Linux Netbook market

If Asus drop the Linux Netbook market then the dumb @#$% are giving it to someone else. However, Microsoft may have paid them to lose that market.

At the end of the day, there is demand for Linux in Netbooks and someone will deliver it.

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Size of the machine, not of the screen is what matters

10" is a nice size for a netbook *if* they can get the size of the whole machine down to that. What's a 8.9" sized screen good for if it has a huge border around the screen to get the size of the machine up to something you can squeeze a usable keyboard in?

That being said I've handled an Apple MacBook Air these days and that thing is actually quite nice and small, although it is actually not that small at all. Form and design matter, too.

What's more important though is the battery of these beasts. A netbook you can carry everywhere but which lasts only two hours on a charge is virtually useless. I'm not buying anything these days that gives me less than four hours and then the market gets very, very thin indeed. I have no use for a computer I have to carry around as a dead weight because the battery is flat... The smallest netbook is to large and too heavy then.

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Anonymous Coward

Put 1024x600 in a 7" form factor...

I've tried the 10" 1024x600 MSI Wind and I had headache after 10 minutes of use: everything was too small to read.

The same resolution and an higher dot pitch should help, but for now i prefer a 12" machine.

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Unhappy

Xandros not up to scratch

Not sure what happened, but on my 701, I managed to fill the root filesystem. but no way could I free up space. Somehow, whatever I wrote on the root fs got copied onto the unionfs copy. Got to the point that the system no longer booted. Tried booting from a USB flash drive (which worked), but was just unable to free any space at all.

This was the second time I had Xandros screw up, and I am a long-term (10 years) Linux power user (and even longer UNIX), and could not fix it. Xandros appears to have a really strange startup process that I just could not get to grips with. Decided to put Hardy onto the system, and once the drivers were sorted, system works fine.

I like the idea of unionfs, but I just could not fathom what was going on. As far as I was aware, the read-only copy was supposed to never change, so you could restore the system to just-installed condition.

Xandros is probably fine for the simple mode, but I would not choose it as a general purpose Linux distro.

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Coat

I am ASUS - hear me roar.

You'll want what we tell you to want.

Now shut it.

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Boffin

re: Maybe it just won't sell as small and linux?

Well the complete lack of Linux versions all over the shelves and the decidedly visible appearance of XP on the shelves seems to put the lie to that as the reason. If it were that small and linux were bad, then they would be running out of the XP ones, not the Linux ones.

The problem (for MS, and Asus if they like to keep preferred partner status) is that small and light benefits Linux and knocks big holes in XP. Without SP, XP was fast. Easily hosed, but fast. With the next two SP fixes XP became more secure and more robust but became more bloated and slower. Linux enjoys a sawtooth in speed: a brand new version of X/KDE/Gnome comes out and it's slower than the old version. The next few updates speed it up. And being more capable, it will *expand* to fill available resources if available or can be easily stripped down (yet remain more featureful than the full XP bare install) to work on low resource machines.

Hence Microsoft making a demand that XP netbooks MUST ONLY be installed on certain size of machine. A size where XP actually doesn't show its weaknesses, so the difference between Linux and XP are not quite so obvious. Moreover a size that ASUS say is going to be the only size of netbook they will supply. Odd, eh?

Small and Linux is not the reason for the change. Microsofts demands are.

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