Asus announces Eee PC

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It’s official: Asus has announced that the Eee PC (which we’ve been tracking since August) will be making its way to North America within the next few weeks. The 2-pound, 7-inch, Linux-based laptop will be available in three configurations priced from $299 to $399.

The highest-end Eee PC 8G includes an 8GB solid-state drive, 1GB of RAM, a built-in Webcam, and a promised 3.5-hour battery life. The Eee PC 4G incorporates a 4GB drive, 512MB of RAM, a Webcam, and the 3.5-hour battery; while the low-end Eee PC 4G Surf lacks the Webcam and promises only 2.8 hours of battery life.

Asus has gone to great lengths to avoid calling the Eee PC a computer: today’s press release describes the device as “a 7-inch gadget designed for first-time mobile Internet gadget users.” The emphasis is on a simplified interface that lets users access e-mail, send text messages, and share files. Add in your favorite Webware, and it’s possible you might not even need a full-fledged laptop.

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