It's already been confirmed that ASUS themselves are working on a touchscreen tablet version of the Eee budget notebook, but over at the OCAU forum they're taking matters into their own hands and constructing an Eee-based slate for ebook reading and web browsing. Using a cheap 7-inch Eee, the end product - the Tabeee Mk1 - will lose the keyboard and gain a touchscreen (similar to the existing mods).
"With the 9” model of the Asus eee pc being released, numerous 7” models were being sold for bargain prices in OCAU’s trade section. I bought such a model coming to approximately $255 AUD, which is much much less then the Sony e-book reader which came to $430 AUD with shipping.
Now this would save me almost $200 AUD, and as a an advantage I have a color screen instead of B&W, ability to surf the WWW, wireless connection, ability to do more then read books, be used as a pad to jot down uni notes" Bismar, OCAU forum
Sony's reader would of course have the benefit of far better battery life, but this could at least be supplemented on the Tabeee with relatively-inexpensive extra battery packs. The build itself is more than just as case redesign, as everything is being made from scratch (either from perspex or from aluminium salvaged from an old PC case).
Bismar still expects his home-made slate to come out cheaper than the Sony alternative. More photos and details on the OCAU build log.