Asustek Computer reportedly plans to release Eee PC netbooks with touch-sensitive screens in Q2 2009. There is no information what other advantages the new mobile computers that are supposed to be inexpensive will offer.
DigiTimes web-sites cities sources among panel makers, claiming that Asustek plans to release Eee PC notebooks in about half a year from now. No actual details are known at this time, but it is noted that AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) are planning to launch 11.6” touch-sensitive notebook panels in February next year, which along with 12.1” panels make possible candidate sizes for the upcoming touch-panel netbooks. Asus yet has to decide which panels it will use.
The new systems will be able to take advantage of touch-based controlling methods that will be available in next-generation mainstream operating systems (OSs), such as Microsoft Windows 7 or new iterations of Linux. Theoretically, the new Eee PCs could also utilize Microsoft Windows XP Tablet Edition, but the OS has already been discontinued.
Something definitely unclear is the advantage that touch-panels would be able to provide to users of netbooks. Asus Eee PCs are aimed at not-demanding users seeking for low-price machines for Internet surfing or email usage. Touch-sensitive screens are usually a feature of Tablet PCs aimed at professionals who can pay more for a device, but will also demand very high quality, long battery life and sufficient performance for their applications, something that at least modern netbooks cannot offer.
Pricing of the Asus Eee PCs with touch-screens is unclear.