Asus Eee Keyboard (With Built-In PC) Shipping Next Month

Asus is probably best known today for its help in sparking the netbook revolution. The Eee PC is often considered the original netbook, and judging by the dozens of models available, we'd say they've been quite a hit for the PC maker. But netbooks aren't all that Asus offers, and we have to confess that the Eee Keyboard is one of the most unique and most interesting products we've seen in quite some time.

Originally showcased earlier in the year, this sleek keyboard actually has a PC within it. As in, a full fledged computer inside of a keyboard. We know it sounds wild, and that's because it is. For months now, we've known that the device was high on the list of priorities for Asus, but we didn't know when the good people of the world could expect it. Now, a high ranking official in the company has made clear that it will ship in Europe and North America starting this October.

The Eee Keyboard is a standard-sized KB with an aluminum finish, but the 5" touch panel on the right side is what sets it apart. Underneath, you'll find a 1.6GHz Atom CPU, 1GB of DDR2 memory, 16GB/32GB SSD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, Wireless HDMI (UWB), USB 2.0, a VGA/HDMI port and even a headphone jack. A final price has yet to be set, but we're guessing it'll be pretty expensive--at least for early adopters.
Via:  IDG
3vi1 5 years ago

It looks neat... but seems like a step backwards. My first thought was that it's a throwback to the days of the Commodore 128 and Amiga 500.

Now, those were great machines... but how much cost is saved nowadays by putting the inards in the keyboard? Any? And once you add a touch panel, aren't you just making it more expensive than an keyboard attached to an ION box?

I just don't see the benefit of this over a more modularized system... where you're not going to freak out the first time you spill your rum on it.

Dave_HH 5 years ago

hmm... trying to think of cool usage models myself actually...

Lev_Astov 5 years ago

I'm actually very excited about this. As long as it's not prohibitively expensive (i.e. more than $350 or so) it will make a great platform for my xbox interface machine (XIM 2). This way I can run my XIM software in the very keyboard and mouse it helps me use with the xbox! Right now I need a whole separate laptop to run it for me.

Dave_HH 5 years ago

There ya go, Lev. Was definitely thinking this thing is livingroom bound. Maybe kitchen too? Smart House operation perhaps?

ClemSnide 5 years ago

I think Lev Astov has the right idea-- it isn't positioned as a system itself, but as a (very) smart controller for other devices. Hm, maybe the ultimate remote control!

There was another unit many years ago, a keyboard that you could detach from your computer and carry around. It had a buffer and an LCD panel (just a dot-matrix strip really) so that you could type into it while away from your PC, then download your writing to the computer later.

I wonder if Jaws, or another screenreader for the blind, could be loaded onto this? Heck with the tiny screen, this could be a good PC for the nonsighted! (And yes, my first thought was actually "How could I run World of Warcraft on it?")

realneil 5 years ago

It will be too costly to be worth it, I think.

ClemSnide 5 years ago

Can't tell you, realneil. I couldn't find a price on the device, so even Amazon isn't keeping a page prepared for it as they do with other announced products.

On the other hand, the Logitech G19 gaming keyboard is $186 there. The big feature on that one is the tiny display built in, which has to at least take a GPU, so we can rule out an under-$200 price tag.

Hm! I think I'll go to WePC and design a notebook that has a Braille display and a screenreader built-in.

Kiristo 5 years ago

Hmm, I was thinking it would be pretty cool if the pc screen was touch-screen, but then I guess, why would you need the keyboard? I doubt I would have use for such a device, but it's pretty cool. Someone could probably make good use out of it.

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