Low cost ultraportables are starting to veer out of their budget pricing tier, a trend that will soon include Asus and its Eee PCs, the netbooks many consider to be responsible for popularizing the recent trend.
According to Asus president Jerry Shen, the company will launch more Eee PCs designed to address different market segments, including the high-end. Helping them to do it will be Intel, who Shen said is expected to keep shipping Atom N270 CPUs through the first half of 2009. So much for the Atom shortage.
Adding to the existing lineup of 11 Eee PC models, Asus will introduce two new categories, Ultimate and Pro Fashion, for a 2008 release. Both new models will come equipped with dual-core Atom processors and either a 120GB hard drive or a 32GB SSD. Models equipped with a solid-state drive will also feature a 10.1 inch 16:9 LED backlit panel, 4-5 hours of battery life, and command between $700 and $900, making them the first Eee PCs targeted at the high-end market.
Can netbooks still hold their appeal when approaching the $1,000 mark?
Solid state drives continue to make headway into the marketplace and Buffalo appears to be readying a herd of 32GB (SHD-EP9M32G) and 64GB (SHD-EP9M64G) SSDs for the Asus Eee PC 900 and 901 ultraportables. Not much else can be discerned from the translated press release, but according to PC Watch (and Google Translate), Buffalo will price the 32GB and 64GB at 16,800 and 33,600 yen, or $150 and $300 USD respectively.
Japan will get first crack at the new SSDs come mid to late September, but if you simply can't wait for Buffalo's drives to migrate stateside, at least one company is already selling the units with worldwide shipping.
Asus' Eee PC is quickly becoming the iPod of the ultraportable market, and if the latest rumor turns out to be true, it will even have an assortment of accessories to go along with the low power notebook. According to German site Eee PC News, Asus will soon add an attractive looking external hard drive that connects via USB. But that's not all. The site also shows photos of an external optical drive and a 3G connection card called the T500, which also looks to fit into a USB port.
If true, add the peripherals to the growing list of Eee branded products. And if not, props to a damn convincing Photoshop job.
Over at PCmag.com, they bring up an interesting point about Asus’ new ROM boot chip and "Express Gate"; how it will affect users psychologically. We are not talking about power users, but just regular end users and how they feel about Linux.
For power users, there just isn’t much draw on Express Gate. So it lets you boot into a basic OS with a web browser and Skype in five seconds. Not really a big deal since most power users keep their machines on 24/7, or maybe let them sleep/hibernate. They also may have a dual boot system to a full featured Linux OS as well. This leaves power users scratching their heads asking why. Had Asus decided to make use of this Linux on ROM to provide things like diagnostics, data recovery, BIOS configuration/updating, or hardware systems monitoring, they would have had us at “hello”.
End users on the other hand, are more likely to power their systems on and off. For these folks having the option to boot quickly to use a web browser for a few minutes before rushing off someplace makes sense. More importantly it gets them using Linux without being obvious about it. I am sure Asus likes this idea as it will warm users up to their Eee line using the Linux OS. This could spool up to be a big deal if other manufacturers pick up on the idea and start serving up their own Splashtop Linux ROM chips on their motherboards.
The effect becomes that there will be more users comfortable using Linux and that could eat into Microsoft’s market share. If this takes off, Microsoft has little choice but to make it’s OS capable of going instant on, or creating a super light and cheap version of Windows that can do the same thing (like Windows CE, but better).
Do you think this might take off? Can we expect Microsoft to follow suit and do their own instant on OS? Let me know!
PC enthusiasts have reason to grin these days, because never has the market been as price friendly as it is right now. Just a shade over $100 suddenly gets you an overclockable Core 2 Duo, and it's not just Intel slashing prices either. Videocards have dropped in price so fast that at least two suppliers (XFX and Evga) are giving early adopters cash back. Prefer an ultraportable over a desktop? No problem, Asus has your back.
There was no announcement, but Engadget reports the Eee PC 1000H can now be had for $100 less than just one week ago. And they're right. A quick jaunt to Newegg verifies the price drop, though it's currently out of stock until Friday. Could this be a sign that the ultraportable market is heating up for a price war?
Anyone that has used a smart phone for browsing the internet knows that those little screens are just too small to be really comfortable to use. We also know that we don’t like to tote a notebook PC around on the chance that we need to use the internet for something.
The industry has known we needed something between a notebook PC and a smartphone sized device. It has taken several stabs at it, but nothing has quite stuck until a new breed of device has started to hit the market, called netbooks. These power sipping, devices are made primarily for checking email and surfing the internet at a low cost, some selling for $300. The PC industry is set to sell tens of millions of these devices. Good deal for the PC industry, right?
Maybe not. The NYTimes.com reports that industry analysts say that the emergence of this new class of low-cost, cloud-centric machines could threaten big market companies like Microsoft, Intel, HP, or Dell. “When I talk to PC vendors, the No. 1 question I get is, how do I compete with these netbooks when what we really want to do is sell PCs that cost a lot more money?” said J. P. Gownder, an analyst with Forrester Research.
Why are these tiny PCs a threat? Make the jump to find out!
Citing un-named sources who mingle behind the scenes at motherboard makers, DigiTimes claims first-tier mobo manufacturers are keeping conservative with third-quarter shipping estimates. Blaming a drop in the worldwide economy, Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI are expecting to maintain sequential shipments growth of just 15 percent while focusing on the mid- to high-end markets.
The forecast gets even bleaker in the entry-level to mid-range segments. Both ECS and Foxconn have been suffering through a shipments decline since the beginning of the year, and DigiTimes reports it will be more of the same in the second half of 2008.
Asus and MSI both expect the continued expansion of their notebook business to pick up the slack and result in a surge in third quarter performance.
I’m looking to build a desktop computer for home use. I want to go as wireless as possible—wireless keyboard and mouse, wireless headset, etc. The only thing that should be plugged in to my computer is, of course, the power supply. Do you know of any Intel Core 2 Duo chipset–based motherboards that feature built-in Wi-Fi for smooth wireless home computing?
Good question, Castlevaniaxx! Hit 'Read More' for the answer!
As previously rumored, Asus' new Eee PC 904 will sport both a larger keyboard and bigger chassis akin to the Eee PC 1000, while also carrying a comfortable price tag of just £269 when it ships in the UK in mid-July. But in order to reach the low price point (and perhaps cope with Intel's Atom shortage), the new model will feature an Intel Celeron M processor instead of the popular Atom chip. Asus previously indicated the shortage of Atom processors would continue through September, a scenario which has low-cost panel makers more than a little bit nervous.
But the Atom chip isn't the only component playing a disappearing act; Asus plans to go with an 80GB hard drive for storage duties instead of a speedier SSD commonly found on other Eee PCs. Rounding out the spec sheet will be 1GB DDR2 RAM and Windows XP instead of the oft used Linux OS.
No word yet on when U.S. residents can expect to see the 1.4kg ultraportable on store shelves.
Are you tired if the Asus Eee mania yet? Surely not! LaptopMag.com reports on some leaked photos of an Eee Monitor or more likely an all-in-one PC. There looks to be a camera in at the top with microphone. The Denon logos in the corners with the grill suggest built in speakers. On the back looks to be a phone jack, Ethernet jack, 4 USB ports, various audio ports and a cable lock port. It seems to have a clear plastic foot at the bottom, and is shown in either black and white colors. LaptopMag.com reports it’s rumored to have a built-in TV tuner and a starting price of $500, but believe that when you see it. Soon we may have Eee coffee makers and toasters.