If you trace the roots of the Asus EeeKeyboard all the way back to CES 2009, and the convoluted trail of announcements and redesigns that followed, you probably suspected this would turn out to be little more than Vaporware. We had our doubts as well, but Asus has proved us wrong by actually launching the long awaiting keyboard PC, and the final product actually appears to be somewhat compelling.
The all-in-one EeeKeyboard PC features an Intel Atom N270 processor, an integrated 480x800 capacitive touchscreen, and built in speakers along with Windows XP on a 16 or 32GB SSD. Best of all users can choose to use either the built in display, connect to an external monitor via (HDMI/VGA), or wirelessly stream to a TV using Ultra-Wideband (UWB) that carries both the audio and video. We haven't had a chance to benchmark one or put it through the paces just yet, but it looks like a pretty interesting new form factor for PC users with very basic needs, or for the burgeoning HTPC market.
The UWB is by far the most interesting feature, but the fact that it is limited to 720p with a 5-meter range definitely restricts some of its usefulness. This is either a limitation of the UWB implementation, or the Intel Integrated graphics. Future implementations will hopefully add in an Nvidia ION, and maybe even boost the 4 hours of battery life a touch, but overall this looks like a pretty decent first attempt.
Click the jump to checkout a video of the EeeKeyboard in action, or to let us know what you think of the new form factor.
When Asus first showed off the Eee Keyboard , no one actually expected it to ship. It was more an exercise in engineering than a product people would buy. But after a number of delays, the Eee Keybaord is on its way to shipping later this month. Asus really promises to ship it this time, and we're willing to believe them for now.
The Eee Keybard is basically a netbook's chipset in a keyboard form factor. There is an integrated 5-inch 480x800 resolution capacitive touchscreen display in place of the number pad. It has an Atom N270 and runs Windows XP. Though, Asus has added a skin to XP making it more finger-friendly. Users will also find 1GB of RAM and the option for either 16 or 32GB SSDs. The real star here is the addition of Ultra-Wideband (UWB) for wireless audio and video. The Eee Keyboard will come with a small receiver to plug into a TV or monitor allowing the signal to be streamed from the safety of the couch.
In its original form, the Eee Keyboard didn't make much sense for anything. With the UWB technology, it has at least a shot at being a passable media center PC. The price is expected to be between $400 and $600. Anyone going to take one of these for a spin?
Stop us if you've heard this one before - Asus is hoping to release its Eee Keyboard...Wait! On second thought, never mind how many times you may have heard this in the past, because Asus is totally serious this time (we'll see) and promises to release its Eee Keyboard PC sometime next month for between $500 and $600.
That's about the same price we've heard every other time there's been an Eee Keyboard PC announcement, which most recently came in November, 2009, when word of a delay hit the Web. Asus said it planned on using the temporary setback to its advantage by beefing up the hardware.
According to reports, the plank-PC will come equipped with an Intel Atom N270 processor rather than the newer Atom N450, a single DIMM slot with 1GB of DDR2 memory and no way to upgrade to 2GB, a 16GB SSD with the option to upgrade to 32GB, a built-in battery that lasts up to 4 hours, and Windows XP Home.
The keyboard will also sport a 5-inch touch display off to the side, along with VGA and HDMI connections.
All told, it's a pretty nifty device, but will consumers be willing to shell out five or six Benjamins for what amounts to a last-gen netbook (hardware-wise) and very limited upgrade options? If all goes to plan, we'll find out in another month.
It looks like we'll have to wait a little bit longer for Asus' Eee Keyboard, which was was supposed to launch in October. That didn't happen, nor does it look like we'll see the keyboard this month because it hasn't yet passed wireless regulation testing in te U.S. and Europe. How long that will take is anyone's guess, and it's up in the air whether Asus will manage to ship the Eee Keyboard in time for the holidays.
Perhaps turning lemons into lemonade, Asus said it will use the delay to its advantage by beefing up the hardware specs. The company plans to swap the CPU for one that is faster, and it will get a new OS too. On top of it all, the Eee Keyboard will add capacitive touchscreen capabilities. All this while still checking in around the $500 mark.
We'll update you with more info as soon as we have it.
First unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last January, Asus has finally committed to a launch date for its upcoming Eee Keyboard. Or at least a launch month. Barring any last minute delays, expect to see the Eee Keyboard on sale in Europe and the U.S. sometime in October, the company confirmed.
Asus wasn't so forthcoming about a projected price point, though the board's specifications appear set in stone this close to launch. The Eee Keyboard will ship with a 5-inch touchscreen powered by an Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor, 1GB of DDR2 memory, and choice between a 16GB or 32GB solid state drive (SSD). Connectivity options will include 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, and Ultra Wideband HDMI.
While Asus isn't yet talking price, news and rumor site DigiTimes -- the same site that correctly predicted an October launch -- said earlier it would probably sell for around $400 to $500.
A little while back Asus was toying with the idea of fitting a home theater PC inside a keyboard, and now we can happily say that this product is finally on its way.
The Eee Keyboard will come with wireless HDMI and a small touchscreen, and is expected to arrive in May or June, costing only $400-$600. Jerry Shen, Asus’ CEO, says that there are two models being worked on, a wired and a wireless version. It’s reported that the wireless capability is the difference between the $400 and $600 machines.
Underneath the hood it will have a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB RAM, a 16 or 32GB SSD, WiFi and Bluetooth built in. It will also feature wireless HDMI, 2 USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI and audio in/out ports.
And so it has begun. CES is the time for companies to show off future products, and that's exactly what Asus is doing with its prototype keyboard PC the company is calling the Eee Keyboard.
A fully functional computer sits inside the QWERTY keyboard, and several ports run along the top edge, including two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and audio in/out ports. The sub 2-pound keyboard also sports an integrated microphone and speakers, and comes equipped with WiFi capability and support for Ultra-wideband wireless HDMI.
The laundry list of features doesn't stop there. On the side of the keyboard, Asus has installed a mini touchscreen. SlashGear spent some hands on time with the prototype and says the main menu grants access to the calendar, photo gallery, media player, and an internet browser, in addition to other usability apps.
Not all prototypes shown at CES ever make it to market, but this is one we wouldn't mind seeing on retail shelves.