Asus president Jerry Shen said Asus will launch an 11.6-inch Eee PC later this month and expects it to account for nearly a third of netbook shipments in 2009. He added that the 10-inch form factor will still be considered the mainstream specification and expects it to account for half of all shipments.
Shen also revealed plans to launch a 15.6-inch ultra-thin notebook, the XS15, which will first be made available in Europe priced from €799-999, or about $1070 to $1330, and a smaller 13.3-inch model priced at €599-699, or $790 to $925. Both notebooks will start shipping in July.
And finally, Shen commented on the recent panel shortages, saying it could have an effect on May and June shipments.
According to some reports Asus’ latest nettop, the EeeBox B208, should be arriving sometime in June for buyers over in the UK.
The EeeBox B208 will come with a dual-core Intel Atom 330 processor, ATI Radeon HD 4530 graphics, and HDMI-out (to help provide a full HD experience). As for connections, it’ll be able to hop on your WiFi using 802.11n, or gigabit Ethernet. And, impressively all this will be whisper quiet, making only 26dB of noise.
It’ll presumably all cost around $500. Not bad, considering how well this could handle the role of a media center.
Much to the delight of Intel, whose Atom processors have become the de facto standard in all things netbook, the ultraportable PC has proven more popular among the mainstream crowd than Jonas Brothers tickets among tweenage girls. It would seem at this point that netbooks are much more than just a passing fad, but could sales be gearing up to level off?
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Taiwan-based netbook vendors say shipment volumes for Q1 are falling short of expectations. The un-cited sources claim that while Acer was estimated to ship two million of its popular Aspire One netbooks in Q1, channel sales didn't hit the mark. The same held true for Asus and its Eee PC sales, which were expected to hit one million units, but fell shy at 900,000. Meanwhile, MSI also reportedly saw lower than expected sales, shipping just 200,000 netbooks.
To make up for the shortfall, channel vendors say both MSI and Acer have started focusing on ultra-thin notebooks.
It's been a little over a year when we first heard about Intel's Anti-Theft Technology (ATT, of no relation to the telcom), which purports to give LoJack for Laptops a run for its money. Fast forward to today and it looks like Asus will be the first to implement the security scheme, who just announced plans to equip some of its notebooks with Intel's ATT.
"With the incorporation of Intel Anti-Theft PC Protection technology in Asus P30 and P80 notebooks, professionals can now conduct their businesses with greater assurance and without the fear of dire ramifications in the event of theft or loss," said Mr. Henry Yeh, GM of Asus Notebook Business Unit. "This added security capability in our P Series commercial notebooks makes it the definitive mobile companion for the professionals of today's fast-paced market."
According to Asus, users who have their compatible P Series notebook stolen can send a "poison pill" remotely. By doing so, the notebook is rendered inoperable and shuts down. The embedded security chip also allows for tracking the notebook, and if the stolen laptop is ever recovered, a local passphrase or recovery token brings the PC back to life.
Compatible notebooks are available now, Asus says.
The latest in Asus’s ever-expanding line of Eee netbooks is a welcome addition to the fold, and much more to our liking than the 901 model we reviewed in December.
Eschewing the previous model’s unremarkable white plastic exterior for a brushed aluminum shell is a smart move on Asus’s part. This changed aesthetic adds legitimacy to the product: The 901’s finish made the device feel disposable, while the 1002HA feels like a real computer.
More importantly, the 1002HA Asus sent us forgoes the pair of low-performance, ultra-low-capacity solid-state drives that bumped up the Eee 901’s price while wreaking havoc with its Photoshop performance (owing to the poor write speeds of cheap MLC SSDs). Instead of SSDs, the 1002HA sports a much more generous 5400rpm 160GB standard hard drive. And it really pays off: The 1002HA breezed through out Photoshop benchmark in just 690 seconds—40 seconds faster than the Acer Aspire One, our prev-ious champion, and less than half the 1,530 seconds the Eee 901 took to accomplish the same task.
As ultraportable PCs become more powerful and increasingly feature-rich, it might soon be difficult to discern where netbooks stop and standard notebooks begin. Such is nearly the case with Asus' new Eee 1004DN, the first Eee ever to integrate a Super-Multi optical disc drive.
The addition of a CD/DVD burner addresses a common complaint among netbook and potential netbook owners, particularly those who might want to use one as their primary PC (Protip: Don't do it). Other specs on the 1004DN are decidedly more standard-fare and include a 10-inch LED-backlit 1024 x 600 display, Intel's Atom N280 processor (1.66GHz, 512k L2 cache, 667MHz frontside bus), up to 2GB DDR2 memory, Intel GMA 4500M graphis, up to 120GB hard drive, 1.3MP webcam, and 6-cell battery.
Asus, the new champion of the report, didn’t only win the top spot, but they bulldozed Apple with a score of 972 to 324. Also leapfrogging Apple was Lenovo, who took home a score of 348.
Admittedly, Apple does have a larger US market share than Asus (1.6 percent compared to 6.8 percent), but given that Asus was only responsible for 0.2 percent of the service calls placed to RESCUECOM, they do deserve a big pat on the back.
In an interview with TechRadar, Asus CEO Jerry Shen said his company plans to commercially launch its current fold/unfold notebook concept around September or October of this year, with mass production to begin in the second half of 2009.
"In 2007 when Apple launched the MacBook Air, it created a lot of media attention," Shen said during the interview. "So this year Asus plans to launch the Fold/Unfold, not following with tradition, to create a similar momentum."
Collaboratively developed by groups of designers from France, Italy, and Korea, the folding notebook concept folds in a way that adjusts the keyboard when the screen is lifted, taking it from a resting flat position to a raised, angled position. In addition to offering space saving ergonomics, the raised keyboard could potentially lead to better airflow for the internal components.
Shen made mention of Apple's MacBook Air more than once during the interview, and it's clear the folding notebook will look to compete with it as a more affordable and economical PC version.
According to Shen, the new notebook will be priced somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500.
It’s expected that the ARM processor will take over market dominance over Intel’s Atom in 2012.
Ever since Asus introduced the first Eee PCs in 2007, netbooks have become a mainstay of the mobile market and currently, Intel’s Atom is a driving force of virtually the entire industry. However, this is mostly due to there being little to no competition in this area.
Dr. Robert Castellano, an analyst with The Information Network, believes that ARM’s Cortex-A9 multicore processor will be the Atom’s primary challenger. He trusts that this will be thanks to a Linux-based netbook that could sell at a price that an Intel/Windows netbook wouldn’t match.
There are still others that disagree, such as IDC’s Mario Morales, who sees Intel on top for years to come. “You don’t want to burn Intel,” stated Morales. “If I am an AsusTek, I need to get processors for my other product lines from them.”
Along with introducing a myriad of new notebooks to the public this year, Asus is looking to update their gaming notebook, the G71, at CeBIT as well.
The G71Gx, Asus’ update on an old favorite, has been upgraded to hold an Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M graphics card (the fastest available), an Intel Centrino 2 processor, up to 12GB of DDR2, and 1TB of storage.
There’s no word yet on pricing or availability for this new beastie, but we can expect that it will cost a pretty penny.