back to article Asus Eee PC 900 flips one at MacBook Air with multi-touch input

Asus' next-gen 8.9in Eee PC 900 will come complete with a MacBook Air-style multi-touch touchpad, documents filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have revealed. Among them, the 900's manual, which explains that in addition to all the usual tap and scroll actions, the tiny touchpad has "multi-finger gesture …


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  1. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Pad too small

    The touchpad will be too small to make multitouch comfortable.

    The eeepc 900 pad is probably the size of a standard laptop touchpad. When Apple added multitouch they increased the size of the touchpad.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mmm lawsuit...

    I'm sure Apple will have already patented this technology and could easily sue them. I know if MS had owned the patent they'd sue Asus into liquidation.

  3. pete


    "It also adds two-finger scrolling."

    Erm... the multitouch macs don't have this? It's been working on my (old) MBP since time immemorial, can't believe they'd remove something so useful...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Mmm lawsuit...

    I was thinking this too. Seeing as every time Apple make a product which includes pretty much anything someone somewhere comes out of the woodwork to claim Apple nicked the idea off of them, then surely this is Apple's moment to return the favour?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @mmm lawsuit

    concidering the size ofasus i wouldnt be surprised if theyed licensed the use of multi-touch from apple, its not like the eepc is in direct competiton with any of apples offerings

  6. John Bayly
    Thumb Down

    Re: Mmm lawsuit...

    But multi-touch input has been around for a while, presented by Jeff Han at Adobe TED:

    Although with the state of the USPTO I suppose Apple could have patented the Zoom & Scroll gestures for specific use with a touch pad on a sub 14" laptop.

    Hopefully it would be classed as prior art and Asus could tell Apple f@ck off.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    RE Lawsuit

    Contrary to what you might think, Apple DID NOT invent multi touch technology. I can't remember the last thing crapple actually invented, they merely take other peoples products (and in some cases outright steal them) and integrate it into their own and then go on a marketing spree telling everyone how great they are. Multi touch was researched heavily by a company called fingerworks. Also there were at least 2 proof of concept phones designed BEFORE the iphoney

    You can't patent something that has clear eveidence of prior art.

  8. Paul

    re: Mmm Lawsuit...

    Given that microsoft have been demoing multitouch devices I doubt apple hold that strong a patent on using multitouch?

  9. Stuart Crook

    Yeah, an Apple fanboi's nitpick...

    The two-finger scrolling -- horizontal as well as vertical -- has been around on Mac laptops for a few years, at least since the iBook G4 launched in 2005. (Also, two fingers + single button = right click, but nobody seems to want to steal that one.)

  10. Steve

    Pad's just fine

    My first and second fingers can just reach opposite corners of the touchpad on my current laptop. If the pad were any larger, I'd have to use two hands or odd combinations of 1st/3rd or 1st/4th fingers to use the full range of zoom.

  11. Nick Palmer

    @Mmm lawsuit...

    Gesture controls weren't *gasp* invented by Apple, so I doubt there'll be any such lawsuits in the offing. Indeed, any patent'd have to pass the "non-obvious" test, so given that Asus, Synaptics, ART, Dell, Interlink (they actually have a patent for a gesture-based touchpad control for a home entertainment system from 6 years ago) have all worked on this idea (and others besides), it fails explicitly on prior art grounds, and implicitly on the "non-obvious" test.

  12. robert

    cant wait for one of these

    had one of the original ones back in November but sent it back as it broke, ended up with a refund as they couldn'd find me a replacement. Picked up a 11" Vaio TZ in Japan in December which, although a whole different ball game to the eee, has been good. Problem is im scared to take it places my car might get broken into etc. So gonna get one of these new eee's.

  13. DrXym

    The screen is the biggest pain in the 700

    The EEE PC is a great device but the screen is too small. Bumping the size and resolution would make the device the perfect laptop for on the go, assuming the price doesn't go silly and leap into conventional laptop land.

    The touchpad is actually okay on the 700. It already has a scroll wheel function but its down one edge. Run your finger down the edge and it acts like a scroll wheel. Hold ctrl while doing this and you zoom. It works fairly well but it runs afoul of the window you are open on some occasions. For example, if you have a browser window open but your cursor is over a flash animation (which usually have their own window), scrolling won't work. You have to move the cursor onto other content and then it works.

  14. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Screen res?

    Is it really 1024x768? This is not a wide screen resolution, but one often used for 4x3 aspect laptop screens. If you were to keep the same aspect ratio, it would be 1024x614. 1280x660 would also be about right.

  15. James Pickett
    Paris Hilton


    A two-finger gesture to Apple then! I'm not with this Holy Grail of thinness, which in the case of the Air looks like a recipe for cracked screens and buckled housings. I bought a new mobile phone recently, and went for a simple, rugged Nokia 3100, which is as small and thin as I want to go. The thin phones are harder to hold, more fragile and have less battery life, so what's the point?

    Paris, because she'd buy an Air...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    oh no!

    wow! - asus have dealt apple a body-blow with this:

    'our vapourware will feature something your actual hardware already has'

    apple must be reeling from the news!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Pad looks ok

    in that pic the pad looks to be almost 1/3rd of the width of the pc itself, im sure this will be fine for the many, of course those with fat finger syndrome may need special equipment. now where are those fingfinners.. (made from Hubert Farnsworths finglongers and a pencil sharpener..)

    Anyway whats with 'will be' then 'is probably' is that just hopefull thinking? someone just wasted there money on a jobbo job?

  18. Simon Oxlade
    Thumb Up

    Touchpad is bigger ... a bit

    Touchpad seems to be a little bit bigger than my model 701. Looks like it now fills the case depression in the 'wrist-rest' area in front of the keyboard - so it's about 10mm wider and possibly (it's hard to tell) 2-3mm deeper. The case depression itself doesn't appear to be any bigger...

    However I'm not entirely sure the touchpad is quite big enough for gesture input - not for my fat fingers anyway. Wait and see...

    Shame they're moving to a 'dope on a rope' style power supply. Standout feature for me on the 701 was the convertible powersupply (US/UK) without the need to carry a seperate 'figure of 8' lead.

    Screen size looks nice though, and they really should have included Bluetooth from the off. Can't wait to have a play with the new one...

  19. Anonymous Coward


    All very nice, but have they improved the battery life? All this extra stuff will surely sap more juice, which is already more than the battery can handle. Two or three hours of surfing is all you really get, if that goes any lower it will make the thing useless.

  20. Nick Palmer
    Paris Hilton


    Yeah...errr..."vapourware"...that means it'd have to actually not exist, as opposed to being hardware supplied to the FCC for certification, wouldn't it? Considering that it's already there, working enough to be certified, and indeed features no more than functionality which has been incorporated into machines since well before the Air was even dreamed of, that'd be some pretty solid "vapour". Also, considering that this'll be a (small) fraction of the price of the Air, I'd say Asus FTW on this one...

    PH for her prior art in gesture-based touch controls...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Touch screen

    Why don't they just add the touchscreen mod? That would be the icing on the cake.

  22. Ishkandar

    two-finger zooming...

    I've been using two-finger zooming for more than 40 years !! Held vertically upwards and wriggled, it means zoom out (or "fxxx off"); held vertically downwards and pointed, it means zoom in (or "come here!") !!

  23. Ralphe Neill


    Where's the picture of the Eee PC user, then?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    re: RE Lawsuit @ AC

    you are correct about Fingerworks doing a lot of the initial research and development into multi-touch technology

    and who owns Fingerworks now?

  25. Uwe Dippel

    Where is the

    white touch-pad on the beach, please?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    re: RE Lawsuit @ AC

    'who owns Fingerworks now?'

    Like I said earlier

    'I can't remember the last thing crapple actually invented, they merely take other peoples products (and in some cases outright steal them) and integrate it into their own and then go on a marketing spree telling everyone how great they are'

    Point made. Isn't it funny how if MS buy a company to get hold of a technology they are automatically the 'evil corporation'. When Apple do it, everything's hunky-dory as they go about claiming they are so 'innovative'

  27. Geoff Mackenzie


    Yep, I've been giving Apple two fingers for many years now.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Twas under the impression....

    That Asus made Apple Mac's anyway....

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Battery and adapter woes

    The really good thing about the Eee is the tiny adapter - so it and the machine don't weigh anything in your bag.

    Now with a larger screen, where is the battery life going? It is already tentative, and what with bluetooth as well, you are going to need an adapter all the time, and if that is going to get heavier as well, then I think the Eee is losing some at least of its charm for me.

    I am going to keep my money in my wallet for the moment - it is (im)perfectly usable at the moment as a travelling companion where you don't need a full-sized laptop, it doesn't need a larger screen if that threatens battery life and its tiny adapter.


  30. Shinku


    That'll be a resolution of 1024x600, right?

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