Reports from Far East manufacturing news source DigiTimes suggests that a new chip from Intel will see an influx of Asus Eee-alikes to the market this year.

Asus' 7-inch UMPC has taken the portables market by storm with its super low-cost, its small form factor and easy to use charm.

DigiTimes' sources suggest that major hardware manufacturers are now planning products to rival the little laptop.

Dell and HP are said to be two companies that could bring out similar small devices in and around the third quarter of 2008.

The tech that's enabling these planned new notebooks is Intel's Shelton'08 chip that uses Intel's single-core Diamondville CPU with a core frequency of 1.6GHz, 533MHz FSB and power consumption of 3.5W.

Acer apparently plans to launch low-cost notebooks available with 8- and 9-inch displays late in the first quarter or early second quarter of this year. The pricing is said to be "competitive".

Micro-Star International (MSI) and Gigabyte Technology are said to have already started Eee-esque product development.