Though others like Acer, Lenovo and Gigabyte are waiting in the wings, Asus looks like it will be the first manufacturer to actually have netbooks based on Intel's new dual-core 1.5GHz N550 Atom out the gate – which is fitting considering it pretty much single-handedly created the netbook as a genre with its original Eee PC.
Contrary to what some sources are reporting, the Eee PC 1015PEM will not be the first dual-core Atom netbook, as that honour goes to another Eee PC: the dual 1.6Ghz core Atom 330-sporting Eee PC 1201N. However, the new N550 CPU does bring some significant advantages over its older generation sibling – crucially including lower power use.
Hopefully the new CPU will be paired with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, rather than the miserly 1GB most current netbooks carry, but other specs should remain pretty much standard fare, including a 10in 1,024 x 600 display, Intel integrated graphics and a 250GB hard drive. Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth also look to make the cut.
Pricing should initially be around the £300 mark or below, keeping it in line with the high-end current generation models (if it were more expensive it would be up against the far more powerful ultra-portable laptops like the Dell M101z, which starts at £375). The 1015PEM will be available in a range of colours, including black, white, red and our definite office favourite, pink.