ASUS Eee PC 901, 1000 & 1000H US pricing: they're not cheap

There's still no official announcement, but an ASUS PR rep has revealed pricing for the Eee PC 901, 1000 and 1000H in the US.  We now know that the 901 will come in at $599, the 1000 at $699, and the 1000H at $649.  Aside from the 1000H, they'll be available with Linux or Windows XP installed. 

The rep was careful to point out that pricing for the 1000-series is "estimated and subject to change".  That gives ASUS the flexibility to fiddle with the figures depending on what rivals do before the ultraportables launch. 

Given that the MSI Wind – which also has a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 10-inch display – comes in at $499 for the Windows XP version, ASUS might just have to re-examine their numbers.  The Linux Wind is even cheaper, at $399.  Meanwhile, entry-level "normal" notebooks experience a great deal of overlap with the larger Eees, and while many of them won't be as portable, users are likely to get more power for their money.  

Some point out that the "budget" ultraportables are more the rival of more expensive machines such as Apple's MacBook Air or Lenovo's X300.  While in such a comparison the Eees look competitively priced, the high-end alternatives are all superlatively spec'd and have luxury cachet, something perhaps missing from the plastic-bodied budget notebooks.

We'll be running our own review of the ASUS Eee PC 901 sometime in the next few days, so will be able to compare it better to rivals both high-end and otherwise.