In preparation for the X101 launch we managed to grab Eee PC leading Product Manager, Brian Tang, for a short Q&A about his new, ultra-slim MeeGo powered netbook.
What makes the X101 different from a normal netbook?
Well, MeeGo is the obvious change. [ASUS is] the only company to really promote this alternative OS in the netbook market right now. We have found one other company that makes a MeeGo laptop as well, but they haven’t customized it like we have. Since MeeGo is open source we are free to tweak it so we have added a consolidated MyZone social networking hub and directly injected our Cloud services such as @Vibe and Cloud storage.
The X101 is also the slimmest netbook we’ve ever made. We wanted to target the ultra-portable market and add another option for people looking beyond netbooks and tablets. There are still people who want a simplified system for internet and social media etc, plus the portability of the small ten-inch form factor, but they still need a full keyboard to type on.
In total, the hardware is light and the OS is light.
How were you able to make the profile so thin?
Despite being shaped like a regular netbook, the target market is more towards tablets. With this in mind we’ve taken the step to remove the VGA and Ethernet ports in order to fit the X101 into its new ultra-slim profile. If you still need those the other Eee PC’s include both, including the X101H that includes a slimmer Ethernet socket with a closing flap.
We also had to design our own cooler as well. It’s even slimmer than the MacBook Air’s cooler, which measures 5.5mm, while ours is just 4.5mm.
Why did you choose these four color options?
Well black and white are always best sellers so they were an obvious choice. The red one is specifically designed for APAC (Asia-Pacific) countries like China and Indonesia that culturally favor this color. Finally, we made a brown one because the natural leather tone with subtle texture is particularly fashionable now. The Eee Pad Transformer is brown too and we know that has been received very positively.
Given the Eee PCs history of alternative styling (Karim Rasheed and Seashell), why did you settle on this particular texture for the X101?
As usual the Design Center looked at several different patterns and coverings to find a unique texture that best suited the colors and style we were using. Eventually we settled on the current one, which is referred to as a linen texture.
Why create both MeeGo (X101 and X101H) and Windows 7 Starter (X101H) versions?
Simply for variety and consumer choice. As a company that serves world-wide markets, [ASUS doesn’t] try to make a one-size-fits-all product. The X101 is for users who like to use the internet, basic multimedia and social networking, while for those who still need Windows compatibility with extra features (larger storage, plus Ethernet and a VGA port) but still want the X101 style, we decided to make X101H. Beyond this we still have a large range of Eee PCs to choose from as well.
Is this super-slim profile the future of all ASUS netbooks?
Netbooks have always been ultra-portable, it’s just that definition has changed over the years. Slim will definitely be the future, but we need to keep usability at the top of our thought process too. While netbook fashion status may have dipped with the launch of the tablet, the ultra-slim profile is bringing it back because – as the Transformer has helped show – many people still need a full keyboard to work on.
Are there more X-Series Eee PCs in the works?
Yes, but you’ll have to wait and see!
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