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Asus eyes e-book biz for Eee extension

Out to undercut Sony?

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Asus may have decided to make an e-book reader after all.

Back in April, company staff were asking interested parties - ie. hacks like us - whether offering such a gadget would make for cool addition to the Eee family. We couldn't see a reason why it wouldn't, we advised.

A month or so later, the New York Times said moles had told it that Asus was indeed working on such a device.

And now Asus CEO Jerry Shen has apparently said it'll be out by the end of the year.

It's an obvious move. Readers are cheap to make and can be coded to accept a range of e-books in numerous open formats. Get it in at around £100, Asus, well below many retailers are discounting Sony's Reader, and you'd have a popular item on your hands, particularly if the screen as good and the battery life better.

The only snag: on past form, Asus' e-book reader will quickly be followed with models containing bulky hard drives, 10in screens and Windows XP, all entirely missing the mark set by the small, cheap resilient version launched in the first place. ®

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