TAIPEI – Asustek Computer plans to add a desktop computer to its Eee PC family that will launch globally in July, the company has revealed.

The new desktop, dubbed Eee Box, is a white mini-PC about the size of a hardback book and will come with either a Linux or Windows XP OS.

Eee Box will come in a range of configurations, including a choice of hard drives from 80G bytes to 250G bytes in size, and allow users to surf the Internet wirelessly via 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The device comes with four USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, two each in front and back, and a slot for MMCs (Multimedia Cards), SD (Secure Digital) cards and Memory Sticks. The most basic version of the device, which will come with an 80G-byte hard disk and run a Linux OS, will cost around NT$10,000 (US$328), an Asustek representative said. She declined to comment further on the device or its components.

The new desktop will be part of the popular Eee PC family of Asustek low-cost laptops that allow people to access the Internet wirelessly. The company set a target of shipping over 5 million Eee PC laptops this year, and said a shortage of laptop batteries was the only thing holding back sales.

Asustek has already launched several versions of the Eee PC since last year. The cheapest one runs on a Linux OS from Xandros, has a 7-inch screen, carries 2G-bytes of NAND flash memory for storage and sells for around NT$7,999. The company launched its latest version last month, the Eee PC 900, which boasts an 8.9-inch screen, an Intel Celeron M microprocessor, and runs on either Linux or Windows XP.

The Eee PC has become popular for its low price, small size and weight, which is less than 1 kilogram.

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