Asus president of sales and marketing Jonathon Tsang says the company will start shipping the Eee PC in Taiwan next week. That's the good news.
The meh news is that while the original $199 price tag still exists, the laptop will only be available at that price for "contract orders." While we've been hearing for a while now that the actual price for US customers will be closer to $259, it's starting to look like even that might not be true. Tsang said Asus will be announcing the price of the Eee PC on Tuesday.
While I'm hoping for a $259 consumer model, there's no guarantee that Asus will be shipping such a unit. Tsang says the company has received orders for over a million Eee PCs, but those units will be going to customers in developing nations where it makes more sense to sell a budget unit in bulk. US and European customers can afford to pay a higher price for a laptop, and we might have to.
Still, I'm hoping that the final price is lower than the $400 you'll have to pay to get an OLPC. While I agree with Nicholas Negroponte's sentiment (buy one for yourself, and one for a child in a developing nation), I'd rather just pay an extra $50 or $100 to help encourage Asus to continue making low-cost PCs available throughout the world.