Let’s rewind to the beginning of the netbook revolution (or shall we say bubble). It was a time when everyone felt Linux was finally going to take off in a big way. The open-source operating system may have failed to ride the netbook wave, but it still holds a key advantage over Windows where price is concerned. This is what briefly placed it in the driver’s seat of the netbook bandwagon.
Now that netbooks are under serious pressure from tablets and price is an even more significant consideration for vendors, Asus has once again turned to Linux. It has decide to ship three Eee PC models with Ubuntu 10.10 pre-installed on them. Hit the jump for more.
Park the hearse, cancel the appointment with the funeral director, and don't print the obituary, because netbooks are here to stay. Or at least that's the case if Asus has any say in the matter (and the company does).
Asus will continue to blitz the netbook market in 2011 by launching three to four brand new Eee PC models, which are in addition to upgraded versions of existing models already on the market, DigiTimes reports. By the end of the year, Asus plans to have shipped six million netbooks, claiming a 20 percent share of the market.
Eee PC business GM Samson Hu indicated that it's tough to predict what impact tablet PCs will have on netbooks sales, but that won't deter Asus from shipping as many netbooks as it can. Given the slow roll out of tablets in general, that's probably a safe bet.
The mechanics at Asus have been tinkering under the hood of the company's Lamorghini Eee PC line and are nearly ready to roll out a couple of new models to the showroom floor.
At the end of this month, Asus will rev its 12.1-inch Lamborghini VX6 in the Taiwan market for around $800. Shortly after, Asus will follow suit with a 17-inch model, the VX7.
The VX6 will race along with an Intel Atom D525 processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 320GB hard drive, USB 3.0 support, and Nvidia's Optimus technology. Those specs aren't likely to woo power users, but then again, we're talking about a 12.1-inch laptop here.
No word on how the 17-inch will come configured or at what price.
The ASUS Eee PC 1015PN is part of the second wave of netbooks. So what exactly does a netbook require to be branded as a second-generation netbook? A dual-core processor at the very least. The 10.1-inch Eee PC 1015PN makes the cut as it not only boasts a dual-core 1.5GHz Atom N550 but also NVIDIA’s Ion 2 graphics chip.
Although currently unavailable stateside, the 1015PN has made its Amazon.com debut. It’s currently listed as “temporarily out of stock,” but interested parties can go ahead and order it now for $429.99, with Amazon promising to deliver the netbook when it becomes available.
ASUSTek's entry-level Eee PC netbooks are due for a slight upgrade, according to reports that point to changes on the Asus support site, which now displays some new models currently not on the market. Apparently, the names of the new SKUs are nothing but existing netbook appellations suffixed by the letter D, which identifies models that feature DDR3-ready Intel Atom N455 single-core processors (1.66 GHz). Following the upgrade, the Eee PC 1001PQ, Eee PC 1001PX, and Eee PX 1005PX will be known as the Eee PC 1001PQD, 1001PXD, and 1005PXD, respectively. Pricing and shipping details are still awaited as there has been no official word on the upgrades.
Someone at Asus deserves a raise. We're talking about whoever it was that convinced the company it was a good idea to put so much time and energy into the netbook market, because that strategy has paid off in a big way. For the first time ever, Asus has positioned itself as one of the top 5 PC makers in the world, and it's mostly due to Eee PC sales.
According to market research firm IDC, Asus shipped 4.3 million PCs in the second quarter of 2010, claiming 5.3 percent of the market. That also represents an 84 percent growth rate for the quarter, putting the company shoulder-to-shoulder with Toshiba for the fifth spot.
"It's remarkable, particularly for people who haven't seen the Asus name around," said Loren Loverde, head of IDC's Quarterly Worldwide PC Tracker. "Toshiba is a long-time venerable PC player. Asus is a relative newcomer. But they have been shipping pretty significant volumes (of PCs), more substantially outside the U.S., but pretty significantly in most markets."
Hewlett-Packard still leads the pack with 18.1 percent of the market, trailed by Dell, Acer, and Lenovo, in that order.
A little late in the game or not, AMD recently said it wanted to focus more attention on the netbook market rather than jump into tablets. Helping AMD do that is Asus, which plans on releasing an AMD-based Eee PC later this year.
It's called the Eee PC 1015T, and according to the spec sheet on display at Computex, the upcoming netbook comes configured with an AMD V105 processor inside. The 10.1-inch netbook also sports an ATI Radeon HD 4200 series GPU, up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, 250GB/300GB hard drive with 500GB of cloud storage (Asus WebStorage), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth 3.0, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 along with the pre-boot Express Gate OS.
Otherwise, the Eee PC 1015T retains the familiar Seashell design as previous Eee PC netbooks along with a glossy finish. No word on when or where Asus plans to bring this one to market, or for how much.
This one's been a long while coming, but as of today, Asus is now shipping its Eee PC Seashell 1005PR netbook that was first shown off during CeBIT earlier this year.
Not much has changed since the last time Asus talked up its 1005PR. The 10.1-inch netbook still sports an Intel Atom N450 processor, 250GB hard drive, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, three USB ports, a 0.3MP webcam, and an embedded HD Decoder Broadcom BCM 70015 chip.
"Broadcom's latest Crystal HD technology puts HD multimedia in the hands of netbook users allowing them to access their favorite content anywhere at any time," said Dan Eiref, Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Consumer Electronics line of business. "The Broadcom Crystal HD solution brings a unique value to ASUS netbooks, providing a new level of performance and power consumption at a market leading price point."
Say what you will about the initial success of Apple's iPad and what it means for the future of handheld tablets, just don't try to convince Asus that netbooks are yesterday's news. On the contrary, Asus thinks netbooks will continue to be the more popular device.
"The tablet PC is a cloud computing device," said Jerry Shen, CEO of Asus. "It if weren't for Apple, this market would develop a lot more slowly."
Because tablets and netbooks serve two different markets, Shen isn't too worried about one overshadowing the other. Moreover, Asus plans to participate in both markets and will launch its own Eee Pad tablet at the Computex Taipei 2010 electronics trade show in early June. According to Shen, "The first phase will use Microsoft software."
Asus is predicting a big year for mobile computing in general. The company sold 2.5 million laptops in teh first quarter and expects shipments will rise as much as 10 percent in the second quarter. In addition, Asus shipped 1.6 million Eee PC netbooks and expects this will rise by 5 percent in the second quarter.
If you trace the roots of the Asus EeeKeyboard all the way back to CES 2009, and the convoluted trail of announcements and redesigns that followed, you probably suspected this would turn out to be little more than Vaporware. We had our doubts as well, but Asus has proved us wrong by actually launching the long awaiting keyboard PC, and the final product actually appears to be somewhat compelling.
The all-in-one EeeKeyboard PC features an Intel Atom N270 processor, an integrated 480x800 capacitive touchscreen, and built in speakers along with Windows XP on a 16 or 32GB SSD. Best of all users can choose to use either the built in display, connect to an external monitor via (HDMI/VGA), or wirelessly stream to a TV using Ultra-Wideband (UWB) that carries both the audio and video. We haven't had a chance to benchmark one or put it through the paces just yet, but it looks like a pretty interesting new form factor for PC users with very basic needs, or for the burgeoning HTPC market.
The UWB is by far the most interesting feature, but the fact that it is limited to 720p with a 5-meter range definitely restricts some of its usefulness. This is either a limitation of the UWB implementation, or the Intel Integrated graphics. Future implementations will hopefully add in an Nvidia ION, and maybe even boost the 4 hours of battery life a touch, but overall this looks like a pretty decent first attempt.
Click the jump to checkout a video of the EeeKeyboard in action, or to let us know what you think of the new form factor.