by Ilya Gavrichenkov
03/10/2008 | 10:21 AM
As we know, ASUS is going to expand their ultra-portable Eee PC system lineup in the near future by adding a new model with 8.9-inch display and starting to ship systems with Microsoft Windows OS pre-installed. It turns out that there are more innovations yet to come. Asus’s chief executive officer, Jerry Shen revealed to Laptop Magazine some other details and uncovered their plans regarding enhancing Eee PC even more. In the near future when Intel Atom processors start shipping in mass quantities, ASUS will be facing new severe competition in the ultra-portable notebook segment. Besides numerous Taiwanese companies, such giants as HP or Acer are also going to enter this market. Therefore, ASUS should demonstrate some serious innovations that could help them retain their leadership.
In April the company should start shipping their new 8.9-inch screen model (1024x600 pixel screen resolution) of the Eee PC. It will be available as a Windows XP version with an 8 GB SSD and 1 GB of main memory as well as Linux versions that include 12 or 20 GB of memory. It will be priced at $499. Moreover, Shen didn’t exclude the possibility for this price to go down: “I think this is the initial price. I believe in June the market will decide the price and it can drop down.” Nevertheless, the main competitive advantage of the 8.9-inch model is not the low price, but small dimensions.
In May 2008 Eee PC should start using Intel Atom (Diamondville) processors. This processor made a much better impression on the company engineers than the Via’s Isaiah competitor, although Via claims that its solution is faster than Atom while consuming about the same power. Shen said that Diamondville is the better choice, because it uses the 45-namometer processor and pricewise it is very competitive.
As a result, progressive manufacturing process and low level of power consumption of the new Intel Atom will allow increasing the battery life of ASUS Eee PC: some models will be able to work without recharging for up to 8 hours. Moreover, in early April ASUS will start supplying its ultra-portable solutions with 7-9” display diagonal with smaller power supply units. They will also guarantee smaller battery recharge time.
That may be especially the case when Asus will be able to ship more Eee PCs. While only 350,000 units were sold in the fourth quarter of last year, this quarter the company is planning on shipping 30-40% more computers. Overall, ASUS estimates the market potential at about 700,000 units per month. So far, production volumes have been substantially lower because of a shortage of batteries, Shen said.
In May-June these computer systems will come out in more than five color schemes and a few stylish design twists. Among the Eee PC accessories we will very soon see such devices as handwriting tablet pads, internet phone devices and TV-tuners. In Q3 2008 Eee PC will acquire optional WiMAX wireless access adapters and HSDPA.