ASUS couldn’t have picked a better time to release a netbook based on the NVIDIA ION chipset.  With the release of the first public beta of Flash 10.1, which supports GPU accelerated Flash for the first time, the usage models for a netbook or nettop computer have shifted pretty dramatically.  Prior to this release, the benefits of the ION chipset were somewhat muted – better gaming support (but who gamed on a 10″ netbook anyway?), support for H.264 video file decode acceleration (cool but no Blu-ray drives on netbooks) and support for GPU-accelerated applications like Badaboom and vReveal (definitely good software but with a limited user base for now). 

With the addition of Flash acceleration on the ION chipset a new world of application uses and differentiation between standard netbooks and ION-based netbooks materializes.  Now you can finally watch PC Perspective’s HD video reviews, high bit-rate YouTube video and even full screen 480p Hulu-based TV shows without choppiness and stuttering.  The machine that ASUS is hoping will bring all of that to you on the go or in the living room?  The new Eee PC 1201N Seashell Netbook:

ASUS EeePC 1201N Seashell Netbook sports NVIDIA ION chipset - Mobile 4

The Eee PC 1201N is unique for a few reasons.  First, obviously, it includes the NVIDIA ION chipset to support all those features mentioned above including Adobe Flash acceleration.  However, it is also one of the few netbooks to include the dual-core Atom N330 processor that should also help general system performance.  It includes a 250GB hard drive and 500GB of online ASUS WebStorage (that ASUS is unfortunately branding as “750GB of hybrid storage”) along with the 12.1-in widescreen display that uses a 1366×768 resolution. 

It does include 7.1 channel audio support via the included HDMI output and incorporates 802.11n wireless networking, Bluetooth support and the ever-present integrated webcam along the top bezel.  The keyboard style is of the “chicklet” design – one that is becoming dominant in retail stores as well it seems thanks to Apple’s push in the direction.

ASUS EeePC 1201N Seashell Netbook sports NVIDIA ION chipset - Mobile 5

Battery life on this new netbook will probably not be outstanding thanks to the dual-core CPU and ION chipset – expect somewhere in the line of 3-4 hours of actual real-world usage. 

ASUS EeePC 1201N Seashell Netbook sports NVIDIA ION chipset - Mobile 6

The Eee PC 1201N will be available in piano-finish black or silver and should be available in late November/early December with a price tag of $499. 
Fremont, CA (November 18, 2009) – Multimedia-minded consumers who prize the portability of netbooks but lament the typical lack of processing muscle now have a reason to rejoice. ASUS has launched the Eee PC™ 1201N, a multimedia netbook sporting an Intel® Atom™ 330 dual core processor and an NVIDIA® ION™ graphics processor that delivers a level of performance never before seen on netbooks. The stylish Eee PC™ 1201N also offers exceptional typing comfort through a full-sized ergonomic chiclet keyboard, and comes with a total of 750GB* hybrid storage to house and host massive multimedia collections.

Faster than Ever Before
The Eee PC™ 1201N marks a radical departure from other netbooks that usually feature single core Atom™ processors. With its Intel® Atom™ 330 dual core processor, NVIDIA ION graphics, and two-DIMM, dual-channel DDR memory architecture, the Eee PC™ 1201N will set new netbook performance benchmarks. More importantly, this combination shatters today’s netbook conventions by delivering a rich multimedia experience.

A New World of Multimedia Possibilities
The Eee PC™ 1201N features the award-winning NVIDIA® ION™ graphics processor which provides a superior multimedia experience including support for HD video and PC games. NVIDIA® CUDA™ technology further boosts the Eee PC™ 1201N’s ability to work with visual content, accelerating processor-intensive tasks such as video editing and conversion.

The Eee PC™ 1201N also comes preinstalled with ArcSoft SimHD, which upscales standard definition video content to high definition. SimHD, a plug-in for ArcSoft TotalMedia Theater, dramatically enhances the quality of images and supports a wide range of file formats. Users can enjoy a smooth HD video experience on the unit’s 12.1” high definition screen, or have the option of enjoying full 1080p HD video with true-fidelity 7.1 audio on HDTVs via the built-in HDMI port.

Rene Haas, general manager for notebook GPUs at NVIDIA said, “The ASUS Eee PC 1201N delivers exceptional performance for a netbook. This ION-powered Eee PC is ideal for anyone who wants a netbook with the ability to watch HD video, share and edit photos, play casual games, and convert video to a portable media player. With the upcoming Flash Player 10.1 from Adobe, it will soon handle streaming HD video as well as a high-end desktop PC.”

Massive Storage for Massive Multimedia Collections
The Eee PC™ 1201N is fully equipped to handle the large amounts of memory that digital media consumes. Boasting a 250GB HDD and 500GB*** of online ASUS WebStorage—a total of 750GB—the Eee PC™ 1201N provides ample storage for users’ movies, music and photos. ASUS WebStorage not only makes it easy for users to share their media with friends and family, it grants them access to free games, desktop wallpapers, and software via a simple drag and drop interface.