I often describe Asus as a company that builds absolutely everything. Well, it continues to live up to that billing with the announcement of its own UMPC.
Called the R2H and referenced in our CeBIT Origami coverage, it is based around Microsoft’s prerequisite specifications (a list that is sure to be tirelessly repeated over coming months).
For the record that means a 7in touch screen LCD with 800 x 480 resolution, Windows XP Tablet OS with Touch Pack, 802.11b/g wireless and a couple of USB2.0 ports. Where it goes above and beyond the call of duty is in adding Bluetooth 2.0, a front mounted 1.3MP digital camera and built in GPS with retractable antennae. A tasteful bushed aluminium exterior also adds a little class. Curiously a 900MHz Celeron M ULV processor has been muted as the beating heart of the R2H but this would fall below Microsoft’s minimum of a 1GHz clock. We’re quizzing Asus about this right now so we should have a clarification soon.
Being such a portable (or should be say 'Ultra Mobile') device, the RH2 has a raft of security features to protect any unlucky or just down right forgetful owners. Asus’ own Security Product Management (ASPM) guards access to the device and network with embedded multifactor authentication procedures that are managed with the Single Sign On (SSO) system. While a built in fingerprinter authenticates owners by detecting live tissue under the outer skin which is apparently a more reliable measure than the fingerprint which can be compromised by superficial defects like cuts and dirt. I don’t know a great deal about this technology but it does cause me nightmarish visions of robbers running around with victims’ amputated and ice-packed fingers.
No price or release date has been formalised by Asus, but guidelines tell us it should be sub $1,000 and arrive before Q3. Mind those pinkies…