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Hands on with Asus' redesigned Eee Keyboard

But launch delayed - again

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Despite promising to launch its Eee keyboard last month, Asus has demoed a revised version of the computer-in-a-keyboard, which is now due to ship early next year.

Asus_keyboard_antenna_05

Asus has revised the Eee keyboard's features and launch date

Among the changes Asus has made to the device are the replacement of its 5in resistive touchscreen display with a capacitive panel.

Ken Wang, Asus' product design chief, told Register Hardware that a capacitive touchscreen, like that found in the iPhone and other top-end handsets, provides “better touch responsiveness” on the 800 x 480 panel.

Asus_keyboard_antenna_01

The keyboard will ship with this plug-in Wi-Fi antenna

SWang added that the keyboard's touch-sensitive panel will also support gesture control features akin to Apple’s Magic Mouse – reviewed here. The keyboard will, for example, launch a web browser when you swipe to fingers over its screen.

But Asus’ own design choices for the keyboard mean that the gadget will now ship with a external wireless antenna (shown above) rather than in internal one.

During tests Asus discovered that the keyboard’s metallic body greatly reduced its ability to pick-up Wi-Fi signals, the company admitted. But because the firm’s designers liked the metallic look, they kept it and just moved the aerial outside of the casing.

Asus_keyboard_antenna_02

Resistive out, capacitive in

However, a non-metallic version of the keyboard is also planned, which will feature an integrated wireless receiver.

Asus wouldn’t tell us how much the keyboard will retail for when it hits the UK next year, or when the alternative model with integrated Wi-Fi receiver will be available. ®

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