Asus has launched an ultra-thin, light netbook called the S121 with two new technologies, Microsoft's yet-to-be released Windows 7 OS and the world's largest solid state drive (SSD) at 512GB.
The S121 is just under an inch thick and is 11.7in by 8.3in, weighs about 3lbs and carries a touchscreen that runs a specialised software Asustek developed for easy touch navigation.
The use of Asus's touch mode software on Microsoft's Windows 7 OS shows how closely the two companies are working together.
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"We're deeply partnered with Asus on Windows 7," said David Fester, general marketing manager at Microsoft's OEM division, at a news conference ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show, which starts on Thursday in Las Vegas.
And although the S121 will be available about a month from now, it probably won't come with Windows 7. The new OS isn't expected to hit markets until next year, although some pundits say it could be released as early as mid-2009.
The new netbook will also "cost quite a bit", said Jonney Shih, chairman of Asus, around $1,649 in the US due to the 512GB SSD on board. He said Asus used its own technology to build the SSD.
SSD technology generally promises speedier software loading than HDDs (hard disk drives) and better power efficiency. But SSDs are far more expensive than HDDs and they don't last as long.
In fact, some analysts at the Storage Visions conference currently going on in Las Vegas, warned users to beware of some SSD technology because of the wide range of quality among SSD makers. Some companies may be using less expensive, but lower quality chips in their SSDs. One of the key components on an SSD to ensure smooth, fast running, is the controller chip, but high quality controller chips for SSDs are expensive, and some makers have turned to using controller chips made for USB flash sticks in their SSDs, leading to far slower write times and reliability.
Asustek's 512GB SSD announcement comes just a few weeks after Toshiba revealed its own 512GB SSD for laptops. Few other companies have announced SSDs with such large storage capacity.
The S121 will come with a 1.33GHz Intel Atom microprocessor. Few other details about the device were immediately available.