As part of ongoing “homebrew” discussions with Microsoft, the gang (Long Zheng, Chris Walsh) and I were handed non-production, engineering ASUS E600 devices for development use. As a bunch of folks have already pointed out, the device features a 5 megapixel camera, hardware buttons, and a heap of additions such as having a battery, a screen, a micro-USB port, a headphone jack and a prominent serial number. It sounds dull, because it is; the device is zero frill. When viewed through the intended developer lens, however, it’s perfect for testing!
Long seemed to enjoy the sticky hardware buttons over the capacitive touch buttons found on, for example, the Samsung Focus. I, on the other hand, prefer the Focus’ smooth monolithic appearance. In fact, every time I remove it from my pocket, it seems to emit a faint but powerful feel of “bad ass.” (Homebrew application idea: Play Odyssey music after unlock or jostle from pocket?)
When on its belly, the device exposes its rougher, sand-paper-like backing. Again, being a non-production device, I doubt this will ship as-is. That said, some may find it useful for nail care.
Anyway, I’m not performing an exhaustive review of a non-production device. That’d be silly. I just wanted to put out there that these devices aren’t super secret. They’re just samples sent out through various channels (e.g. press) for testing and development use. I’m sure when the juicy stuff surfaces, you’ll see it on sites like Engadget.