New Eee Desktop Sports Touchscreen

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Asus has gone for a touch of novelty with its latest models, announcing an expensive desktop touch-screen version of its Eee PC and a laptop clad in bamboo.

The Eee Top 1602 is built around the Atom N270 chip found on the company's diminutive netbooks, to which is added a range of features commonly found on conventional desktops, such as Windows XP, 1GB of main memory, 128Mb of shared graphics and a 160GB hard drive.

But it is the all-in-one screen and PC design and 15.6 inch touchcreen that make the new machine stand out from previous models, and from its PC rivals.

The Eee Top 1620 also features the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, Expressgate Linux for rapid boot of several applications, but no word of a full Linux version at this point, which might reflect the greater demand on the EeePc platform for Windows installs.

The touchscreen and space-saving design bump the price up in the UK to £449 (US$712), with VAT, above that of some Intel dual and quad-core PCs running much higher hardware specifications, so buyers a paying a premium for simplicity of use.

Asus claims that inexperienced PCs users will warm to the 'Easy Mode' interface that allows Windows to be controlled without the need for keyboard or mouse control. It even comes with a touch-enabled version of the Opera browser.

What the 1620 is not is a business computer, on which theme the company has officially launched the distinctly odd new laptop, the £1,349 Bamboo Series mini-laptop. The machine comes with a top-of-the line specification and a 12.1 inch screen suitable for ultra-portable use. But it is the level of green gimmickry that it will probably be remembered.

"The bamboo rivals the tensile strength of many metal materials, even steel," said the official release. "Bamboo has a renewal rate that no other material can match. Able to regenerate itself upon harvesting without the need for necessitating or replanting, Bamboo is possibly the perfect renewable resource."

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