Having initiated shipments of mobile Eee PC machines globally, Asustek Computer, one of the world’s largest makers of computer components, said that it also intends to release a desktop Eee PC next year. While it is natural for Asus to try to capitalize on the already well-known PC brand, the success of the move is not really obvious.
Jonathan Tseng, president of marketing at Asustek said at a news conference in Taipei, Taiwan, that Asus plans to launch desktop version of Eee PC in 2008. The system will come without display and its actual configuration remains unknown, reports DigiTimes web-site. So far the company has shipped 100 thousand of mobile Eee PCs and hopes to have shipped 300 thousand of them by the end of the year. But while selling around 5800 of personal computers every week may seem significant, the prospects of Eee PC in its current implementation are not that bright.
Currently Asus Eee PC utilizes Linux operating system (OS) and will also be sold with pre-installed Windows XP a little later. Microsoft ceases to sell Windows XP in mid-2008 and either Asustek will have to continue only with Linux OS or install higher-performance components to make Windows Vista system work. Given that current configuration of Asus Eee PC will hardly be able to work with Windows Vista due to relatively slow microprocessor, limited amount of system memory, low-capacity solid state drive, low-resolution monitor and the lack of advanced graphics adapter, the manufacturer will have to substantially upgrade Eee PC before transiting to Vista. Using more advanced components will inevitably drive the price of Asus Eee PC upwards, which means that the company will not be able to position it as a truly affordable solution. If Asustek decides to go on only with Linux OS, its Eee PC will hardly become really popular due to tepid acceptance of Linux among general public.
Desktop Eee PC from Asustek is unlikely to have performance constraints since desktop components are more affordable than mobile components, however, desktop computer market have relatively low profit margins amid intense competition between different suppliers.
Asus Eee PC 4G, the first base configurations of the Eee PC sold in the USA, is based on Intel mobile chipset and microprocessor, supposedly Intel 910 chipset and Intel Celeron M ULV 353 (900MHz). The notebook is equipped with 512MB of PC2-3200 (DDR2 400MHz) memory and 4GB of flash memory instead of the hard drive. The Eee PC features 7” screen and 800x480 resolution, three USB ports, audio jacks, 10/100Mbps port and wireless WiFi (802.11b/g) interface, as well as a 56K modem. The device is also equipped with a card-reader and a 0.3Mpixel web-cam. The Eee PC 4G costs $399.