While many consider Asustek Computers’ Eee PC as just an alternative to quite expensive ultra-mobile personal computers as well as a system for emerging markets, the company itself claims that its Eee is much more than that and it could make it one of the top personal computer suppliers on the globe with 20% market share as early as in 2010.
“I think the chance of surpassing 20% in 2010 is very high because there will be further [Asus Eee] products in the future,” said Jonney Shih, chief executive of Asustek, in an interview with DigiTimes web-site.
Gartner Dataquest predicts that the market of personal computers will reach 268.1 million units in 2007, up 12% from 2006. Currently the world’s top PC maker is HP with 19.6% market share, whereas Asustek is not even among the top five PC vendors, hence, it commands less than 4.4% of the market. The way how the world’s largest maker of computer mainboards plans to become the globe’s largest supplier of computers is simple: creating PCs easy to use by novices and affordable to buy in emerging and existing markets. Maybe, high-performance systems are not really important, asks Asus.
“Traditional PCs are too powerful, no matter in the home or office; we are seeing quad-core rising with octo-core coming in the near future, and the more cores in a CPU, the more memory the system needs. Is all this really necessary? With the Eee PC we decided to go back to basics, to bring the focus to just functions and reasonable price levels,” said Mr. Shih.
Perhaps, Asustek just wants its Asus Eee PC to become Nintendo Wii of personal computers, but in that case it needs to invent something unique about it. For example, despite of low-performance graphics engine and microprocessor, Nintendo Wii has motion-sensitive game-controller, which is not available on other game machines. Meanwhile, all the Asus Eee PC has now is relatively low-performance hardware amid simplistic operating system and low-price.
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.