Two new Asus laptops offer an Ubuntu Linux option

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As the arrival of Windows 8 draws ever nearer, it's not surprising to see the debut of a flurry of devices featuring the new OS.

There's no doubt a great deal is riding on Windows 8, but it remains to be seen whether consumers will take to its cross-device approach or not, as usability experts have pointed out.

No wonder, then, that some PC makers are hedging their bets.

I've already written at some length about the emerging class of Linux-powered PCs that have been hitting the market in recent months, and recently two more have appeared. What's particularly interesting about these two new laptops from Asus, in fact, is that they'll be available with either Windows 8 or Ubuntu Linux--whichever the buyer prefers.

4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive

First uncovered by Notebook Italia on Monday, both of the new Asus laptops can be ordered with Microsoft's operating system or with Canonical's popular open source Linux distribution.

The Asus F201E, for example, features an 11.6-inch HD display, a 1.1GHz Intel Sandy Bridge dual-core Intel Celeron 847, and an Intel HD 4000 integrated video subsystem.

Best Buy
The Asus Q200E.

Whereas pricing on the Windows 8 models begins at 329 euros, or about $425, however, the Ubuntu version  with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive is priced on Amazon Germany at 299 euros, or about $387.

Expected on U.S. Shelves

Then there's the Asus X201E, an Ubuntu-preloaded version of the Windows 8-based Q200E now listed for $549.99 on Best Buy featuring a 1.4 GHz Intel Core i3-2365M, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 500GB hard drive.

The Ubuntu-powered Asus X201E, in turn, is a lower-end version of the F201E, according to Notebook Italia, that features a 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron 847, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 320GB hard drive.

The X201E is expected on U.S. store shelves later this month, according to OMG!Ubuntu!, and--as one would hope--for less than the Windows version. Currently, pricing seems to be in the vicinity of $314 or $315.99.

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