back to article Asus Eee keyboard opens CES

Asus has kicked off this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with a sneak preview of the upcoming Eee keyboard-cum-PC, which features an integrated display. Asus_Eee_Keyboard_03 Asus' Eee keyboard was spied at CES Images courtesy of Gizmodo Described as a fully functional PC with inset Qwerty key arrangement, the …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eeeboard.

    Blimey. Delete the 5" LCD screen and the internal battery, and home computer design will have finally come full circle from the 8-bit Spectrum/Electron/etc. era!

  2. GettinSadda
    Thumb Up

    Wow - Asus are really doing some great inovating!

    First the EEE-PC, now this.

    When I started to read the article I thought "Wow, if there was some wireless way to connect this to my TV I would love to have one in my home", then I read about the "Ultra-Wideband Wireless HDMI port".

    When can I buy one?

    And will it come with some neat way to charge it such as standing it end-up in a slot in a charger using inductive coupling? Then it can stand next to my TV, or on a table near the sofa ready to be grabbed when required.

  3. Rob Haswell
    Paris Hilton

    So what do we use this for?

    I'm struggling to think of how this might fill a need. Any ideas people?

    Paris, because at least she knows there's no point without putting on a big display.

  4. Edwin
    Thumb Up

    Cool!

    The PC has come full circle!

    Aside from the Compaq luggable, our first home computer was a TRS-80 offspring called the MC-10. Like the TRS-80 series, the Commodore 64/128s and a whole raft of contemporary systems, these were effectively keyboards with integrated computers and 'themed' peripherals.

    Technically the Tandy 102 is even closer, since it also had an integrated display, but it didn't do TV out in any way...

    Of course, you can't really compare the MC-10's 6803 with the Asus' Atom processor...

  5. Dai Kiwi

    "And everything old shall be new again..."

    I'm sure there are comments in the queue already which will allude to an era of personal computing in the 1980s that those of us of a certain age remember - VIC-20, C64, BBC and a bunch of other machines which were computers inside a keyboard. With full-HD screens plugging this in to the TV to use is even viable. Shame there's no keypad though. It'll be interesting to see what the final specs on this machine are. I could see computers in this format having a certain attraction again in home or small business use.

  6. arran

    will it run

    with the PS3?

  7. Greg

    Media streamer?

    I can imagine this being good for grabbing files across a network and shoving them onto the telly. Other than that...

  8. Matthew Coulson

    Wow!

    If that's solid state and fanless, I want one.

  9. Tom Hudson
    Thumb Up

    Only 90 minutes?

    So what if the battery only lasts 90 minutes?

    If you've got an HD TV or monitor to plug it in to, you're most likely going to have a power source to plug it in to.

    If you want to take it somewhere you haven't got a power source: you'd probably be better off getting a regular EEE Pc.

    Otherwise: I think it's damn cool. I can imagine it being a nice machine for browsing the web on whatever sized screen you have to hand. I just pulled the (broken) screen off an old laptop to make something for just that - and it proved very useful :-)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    @ Matthew Coulson

    "If that's solid state and fanless, I want one"

    VIC20 - only £0.99 apparently ! :

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Commodore-VC20-Early-CBM-VIC20-Rare_W0QQitemZ220340492676QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_VintageComputing_RL?hash=item220340492676&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1300|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318

    Very unfriendly URL :(

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    And the best thing

    is that the eeeKeyboard +2 will come with an integrated tape deck!

    Awesome gadget, the PC could be coming to your living room- and with a great deal of ease if UWB HDMI can be retrofitted to your existing TV!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The keyboard doesn't look so hot though...

    ...reminds me of the 'chiclet' keys on an old Tandy CoCo.

  13. Natalie Gritpants
    Linux

    Nice as a NAS?

    If the ports are up to hanging a bunch of USB drives and Linux works with the display it might make a nice NAS with it's own UPS.

  14. Steve

    80s Style Computing

    Cool a modern Amiga lol

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: And everything old shall be new again...

    >those of us of a certain age remember - VIC-20, C64, BBC

    Those of us of a more advanced age will remember hours sniffing lead fumes from assembling the even earlier 6502 based UK101.

  16. The Mole
    Go

    Re: Dai - num pad

    Dai you said shame it doesn't have a keypad but it does, the screen located where the keypad should be is touch sensitive and therefore could be used as the missing keypad, would probably want the key imaged to be translusent or something so that you can see what you are entering it onto but presumably it will (or could) be there if you want it)

  17. Bo Pedersen
    Thumb Up

    Mock it we may

    but the C64 sold over a million

    its arguably better than a media centre machine, what with a nice large capacity external drive, this thing could sit well under the telly doublig up as the media remote/web surfter

    make it control the dvd player and sky box and its a winner!

    classic format, nice styling and not only that, the gaming power is about the same as a c64 too :)

  18. Tom Sadler
    Happy

    Asus Eeeboard - been here before?

    Anybody else thinking Commodore 64-with-knobs-on?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kinda groovy...

    The obvious uses might be as a portable PC, media server or network controller - take your entire digital video library round a mates house and stream it to his home cinema system for a beer an pizza night? ... don't know how much solid state internal storage this has got though. And I'm certain that once they're "in the wild" people will find various innovative uses for one of these.

    Just hope there will be a UK keyboard variant (noticed the @ symbol above the 2 - sad I know) :)

  20. Britt Johnston
    Thumb Up

    user-defined keys

    This looks more like a flexible keyboard than an embedded netbook. I can't imagine wanting to use an upright itouch-sized screen as a display except in emergencies.

    The touch screen could prove useful for music programmes, which often enough need a special keyboard to reach the function keys- one reason less for musicians to be impoverished.

    If the Asus quality weren't up to it, Logitech will bring out their version soon enough.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Uses

    Remember when the eee 701 first came out, there were several people saying "what would you want it for", but that sparked a whole stream of alternatives and innovation.

    I can see this doing the same... possibly sparking an acronym of ASCKC - Average Sized Cheap Keyboard Computer

    Or maybe, if it's running KDE:

    "Keyboard Integrated Cheap Komputer - Advanced Remote Screen Environment"

    Just for starters:

    Media streamer

    Web surfer

    Email client

    NAS

    Laptop for people with big fingers and good eyes

    I just hope they include the wireless-HDMI adapter as standard.

  22. Andus McCoatover
    Dead Vulture

    Doctors, anyone?

    Yep, soon to be seen at your local health centre.

    Folks with neck injuries, who can only look to the right, as they've spent sooo long typing while crooking their necks to the side at the display.

    (If you in Britain can find a health centre...)

    Oh, yes, to a previous poster - I built a UK101 - or more accurately, the US version I picked up in NYC, name of which I forget. And a Sinclair MK14. And rebuilt some 6502-based effort running Forth - Jupiter, was it? Sod my guts, I REALLY should retire....or get out more...

    Can we have a Zimmer frame Icon? Only way to portray a Boring Old Fart. Tombstone icon'll have to do for now.

  23. xjy
    Paris Hilton

    Boggle

    boggle, boggle, boggle...

    (Paris cos I bet she's good at boggling...)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    TV integration

    How long till we just get the Eee TV, with the major components not in the keyboard. Then the keyboard battery will last longer.

    Or, what if I but a cheap computer, hook it up to my TV and buy a wireless keyboard and mouse?

    This is a nice idea in theory, but using the computer and wireless keyboard option is already available AND the battery lasts longer.

  25. Dai Kiwi

    @ The Mole - Re: Keypad

    That did occur to me. The screen is the right size and with the comment about it being able to be configured for specific uses as well as a standard display it probably is one of the options. But I'm not sure how long it'd last with regular use like that, even with a palm/ipaq-type screen protector on it. Still, just a minor quibble - if I really wanted to use a keypad on a regular basis with it I could just buy a plug-in, as some people do already with laptops.

    Regarding the keyboard, I see the report linked-to refers to the keys being individually mounted - so not a 'flexible'-type pad. They remind me of some other piece of 80s kit with low-profile plastic (not rubberised) keys - without the backlighting, obviously - but I can't think of which one offhand.

  26. b
    Alert

    that's just weird..

    i remember novatech used to do an screen-integrated pc and i always thought they would be cool for just browers and emailers, but this looks just weird to me!

    will it have dual gpu capabilities so it can run a full screen and that little keypad monitor?

    who's it aimed at?!

    (look the king, he has no clothes!)

    shsh, stupid boy!

    cheers,

    bill

    p.s. stuff and nonsense: http://www.eupeople.net/forum

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remote control?

    Lots of ports on the back but does it have an IR port so it could be used a remote control for the collection of boxes under the TV? I suppose the other alternative is to glue to the half dozen or so remotes onto the base and flip it over to use them. At least that way they'll be harder to loose down the back of the sofa.

  28. Toastan Buttar

    Mattel Aquarius ?

    Now I know where all those old abandoned Mattel Aquarius enclosures ended up:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mattel_Aquarius

  29. Stuart Halliday
    Happy

    More accurately

    Actually it's much more like the Sharp PC1500 (cir. 1982), a hand-held computer with a LCD screen.

    I've still got mine and it still works...!

    I taught myself 8bit 6502C m/c and BASIC with this...

    http://pocket.free.fr/images/sharp/pc-1500.jpg

    http://www.pc1500.com/

    The battery in the PC1500 lasts for weeks.... ;-)

  30. simbr

    HD?

    So it can connect to a HDTV (assuming you have a wireless one, and I've not seen any of those around yet anyway), but I thought Atoms weren't all that good at HD decoding? Are they thinking of squeezing some sort of graphics coprocessor in there also?

  31. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    So close yet so far so good

    When are they going to integrate the projector? Screw the monitor / TV hookup and just blast the image on a screen in front of you. It could be a simple roll out affair or a seat back or the bloke's face (do not look into laser with remaining eye) across the table. One day portable computing will really arrive.

  32. John

    a new c64 generation?

    while it's possible this could lead to a new generation of geeks like those of us who had c64s, I'm not really sure if there's much of a market for this. A box below the tv and a bluetooth keyboard would presumably be more useful.

    That said, I like the look of it and it only remains to be seen if it is as good to type with as the MacBook-style apple keyboard.

  33. Ewok

    I think it would be useful....

    As in, I would love to have a secondary screen with just basic "widgets" like I have on my desktop but are never looked at because its hidden under everything. A basic screen with recent email, schedule, calendar, clock. I have an iphone and it gets plenty use even while I'm using my computer....

  34. William Towle
    Thumb Up

    Full circle: My offertory for comparison

    ...the Apricot Xi, which had an LCD screen in the keyboard suitable for displaying captions above six function keys.

    I borrowed one of these from someone once, and thought it was a nice way to save paper/plastic on function key strips (once you'd reserved part of the screen for the bit the LCD didn't cover, of course. Unfortunate trade-off but probably cut costs reasonably effectively at the time).

  35. IR

    No one else has said it

    It's a laptop without a main screen!

    Albeit, shaped like the keyboard rather than the screen, which is usually the largest thing on a laptop. Seems like it would have been better to just build an EEE with some of the TV features built in. But then you wouldn't use it as a media centre because you'd always be out and about with it so it couldn't record any tv. Seems like a mixed purpose device that isn't good at any of them. I can understand people wanting a single box device but a separate box and keyboard seems much more sensible (and has longer battery life).

    Reminds me a lot of my old speccy +2. How long before someone creates a program to run the image of a tape playing in the little side screen while your tv flashes, gurgles, and bleeps at you...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @IR

    I think you'll find I pretty much said it at 13:29

  37. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    EEE model M?

    They really should build it into a real keyboard like a model M*. Ugh, chicklet keys. Of course then it'd probably be heavier than quite a few notebooks (let alone netbooks) on the market. The model M would probably have room for the hard disk though 8-).

    *Well, IBM and Lexmark don't make model Ms any more, but Unicomp does.

  38. Dave

    The missing bit

    To get the tone back to a suitable level, where's the gorgeous model to hold the unit?

    I guess none of them wanted to be in a photograph with a caption advertising a 5" display.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Andus McCoatover

    >Can we have a Zimmer frame Icon?

    Don't be hard on us. We need a pioneer icon, something like a Davy Crocket racoon hat.

    The American version was called a Ohio Scientific Superboard.

  40. Chris James

    Memories

    Reminds me a bit of my old Sinclair QL!

  41. Matt
    Thumb Up

    perfect :)

    just right for small offices or thin client applications... enough grunt for word, outlook and internet explorer, but no noise, no desk clutter and minimal wires...

    i just hope the pricing is along the ethos of the eeeee range... if so, i can see myself replacing a few mid sized optiplexes :)

  42. Andrew Garrard
    Thumb Down

    Chuffing daft idea

    It's like having a small machine behind your screen and a wireless keyboard. Except:

    1) It'll cook your legs and/or sound like a hair drier.

    2) It'll suck all the wireless bandwidth in the area (I'll keep mine for networking, ta).

    3) Its battery will go flat much faster.

    4) It'll weigh much more.

    5) It increases the likelihood of someone snooping your screen.

    6) You don't get to choose your preferred style of keyboard.

    7) It's size-limited when it comes to adding hardware.

    If people really care so much about having a cable running from a computer to

    their screen that they want to use wireless video, best of luck to them. I'd rather

    stream everything that's *not* the high bandwidth uncompressed video signal.

    Seconded about the projector, though.

  43. simbr

    sidescreen

    @lego

    I saw a recent review (in PCPro IIRC) of a monitor with a small adjustable secondary "mini-me" panel peeking over it's shoulder for that purpose.

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