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Asus press event summary: WiMAX, Eee PCs, and R50A

JonnyasusHeeeeeere’s Jonny! James and I are listening to the Asus news and the talk is WiMAX, WiMAX, WiMAX. Asus sees the mobile Internet as the future and is betting big on WiMAX. Anticipated range in urban areas is up to 10k with ranges of 50k in rural areas and downloads in the 2- to 4 Mbps range. I don’t doubt the claims, but WiMAX here in the U.S. is (in my opinion) a technology implementation in flux. Then again, Jonny is on stage and I’m not, so what do I know. Additionally, Sprint is on the stage discussing the partnership and support of Asus with Sprint’s XOHM service. Sprint wouldn’t commit to a monthly service price for WiMAX but we heard "I suspect it will be more affordable than 3G".

The new EeePC will indeed be WiMAX-ready, but how well does it work? We’re now watching a WiMAX demo of video streaming and… OMG, it’s MY VIDEO OF TYLER WITH THE EEE! I had to stand up and we just got a round of applause. Go figure that jkOnTheRun was actually part of the Asus press conference. ;)


So what will this great connectivity cost you in a device when WiMAX is rolled out? Asus plans for an entry-price point of $999… not for the Eee PC, Jonny didn’t say what that price will be but he says it will be "very competitive". For the Eee to remain attractive, I’d guess we’ll see a price of under $500… just a guess, plus you have to pay for the WiMAX service of course.

We got a look at the Asus 2008 roadmap and paid particular note to the UMPC and Eee PC bits. We should see the new Asus Eee PC models in the second quarter and we’ll have three to choose from. The only variance provided was the screen sizes, but there could be other differences as well: 7-, 8- and 8.9-inch screens will be offered and the resolution will get kicked up to a more usable 1024 x 600. Each will be WiMAX ready as previously mentioned, but I don’t expect the WiMAX rollout to be quick: one slide mentioned 20% of mobile device users will experience WiMAX… by 2009. Hmm…

Also on the roadmap was the R50A UMPC and there was only one model; no major variants planned in 2008. We got up close and personal with the device and it’s much nicer than the first R2H series in terms of design. Gone is the brick-like look as are a few ounces of weight: this one tops the scales at 1.2-pounds. There’s WiMAX a digital TV tuner and an integrated GPS on the inside, but to keep the size and weight down, the screen was reduced from the R2H’s 7-inches to 5.6-inches at 1024 x 600. No QWERTY keypad, but there are a good number of hardware buttons. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the unit powered up, so no true play-time.


After the press conference was over, I told Jonny that since he used my video in his press conference, he owed me a picture with him and Eeegor. James was kind enough to snap the shot; thanks Jonny!


This was defintely one of the highlights so far and one of the main reasons to attend: meeting people in the industry. Time for a short break as we now catch our breath. Just 1.5 hours before we attend ShowStoppers! What will see there? Better yet: what will you see there practially at the same time we see it?!?

11 Responses to “Asus press event summary: WiMAX, Eee PCs, and R50A”

  1. Kevin, I certainly don’t know what the booth folks said to someone, but there’s no doubt in my mind on what I heard the Asus CEO say in the press conference. Second quarter of this year we should see the Eee PC with larger screens and higher resolution. These will be WiMAX-ready devices, so if you’re lucky enough to be in a coverage area, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a service plan from Sprint for your Eee. Perhaps the 12 to 18 months quote was on the general availability of WiMAX; that makes more sense to me.

    Jezlyn, no I had NO idea that Asus would be using that video. That’s why it was so funny to me… what a great experience it was.

    Yup, we’re worn out. It’s now just past midnight (which is really 3am on my internal clock) and I just finished a fun interview with Warner Crocker for the PodTech folks. The end of a long day that’s had us running since early morning. Aches and pains from walking aside, CES is a blast! :)

  2. Hey, Kevin, congrats on the high-profile shout out during Asus’ press event! Were you aware ahead of time that Asus was going to use your video? Your son must be psyched as well. :) Great story.

    And keep up the great CES coverage! You guys must be worn out already. :)

  3. There seems to be some confusion on the availability of the larger screens. One commenter (on engadget?) stated that s/he had stopped by the booth, and that those and WiMax wouldn’t be for 12-18 months (that April would be a lesser upgrade)… ‘twould be nice to nail this down; need to decide whether it’s worth keeping my 7incher, or return to Costco and wait for 8.9 1024×600 :)… Unless I decide to splurge for a p1610…

  4. Brad, I have the same question on the screen resolution but we couldn’t get any information on that at the time. We’ll hit ’em up for a second pass to see what we can find out. My hunch is that all of them or at least the two larger displays will have the higher res. It would be nice if they offered it as an option in the 7-inch because some folks will be fine with 800 x 480 (if current sales tell us anything) but others wouldn’t mind paying a little extra for 1024 x 600.

  5. Of course it was flattering that the eeePC chap used Kevin’s video in his presentation. But suppose it had been the other way round. Suppose Kevin had used Asus material without permission in a presentation. I bet there would have been calls from the lawyers!

  6. Fudge :)

    Hello there, I have been a silent reader for quite some time now. I wanted to break the silence and let you both know how tickled I was to hear about Kevin and JKOTR appearing durring the ASUS keynote speach. Thank you for all the great coverage of CES and for the coverage the rest of the year. By the way my mobile devices are a N770 and a HTC Wizard. That’s it, my digital world revolves around those two great devices. But, I’m drooling for an EEE!!…and an advantage to replace my aging stable. Well I thank you again, and I’ll try and not be such a silent reader. My morning coffee would not be the same without your RSS feed on my 8125. Over and out, Fudge :)

  7. scoobie

    I think the best UMPCs so far at CES are the new Digifriends device (the lime green/black thing with the removable keyboard) and the LG copy of the OQO design.