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August 07, 2008

Asustek Plans Launch of Three New Eee PC Netbooks

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributing Editor

With an eye to seize the thriving netbook market, Asustek Computer (Asus), announced its plans to launch three new Eee PC “netbook” models. According to Asus, the new computers will be shipped within next few months.
Asus launched the original Eee PC, a netbook with a 7-inch screen, in October last year. Since then the company has seen significant increase in the sale of Eee PC netbooks.
For those not familiar, a netbook is a small, low-cost, lightweight laptop computer designed for Internet access and basic computing functions like word processing. Netbook application may be installed on the computer, or accessed from “the cloud” using on-demand software like Google Apps.

Worldwide, netbook PC sale is shooting up. IDC (News - Alert), a global market researcher, forecasts worldwide shipments of netbooks rising from just 430,000 units in 2007 to 9.2 million in 2012.
Taiwan's Market Intelligence Center (MIC) gives a substantially higher figure for the global netbook shipments. MIC said worldwide netbook sale is likely to reach 8.02 million this year and will become more than double to 18.3 million units in 2009.
Asus sold one million Eee PCs in the second quarter of 2008. The company estimates that it will ship between 1.5 million and 1.8 million Eee PCs in the third quarter.
Netbooks are the latest breed of device designed for mobility and Internet surfing. They typically about 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) and have LCD screen in the 7- to 10-inch size. According to Asus, netbooks also feature long-lasting batteries. A typical netbook costs somewhere between $199 and $599.
Asus has plans to sell its netbooks packaged with third generation (3G) mobile telecommunication contracts. It has already signed deals with four telecom operators in Europe and Japan. Asus is hoping to establish more such contracts this year.
Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) and Acer, Asustek’s chief rivals, are also doing well. Acer is in discussion with Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile in Taiwan, as well as T-Mobile (News - Alert) International, Vodafone Group and Orange in Europe, to supply its Aspire netbook PCs with built-in 3G. ECS, meanwhile, has already signed up with service providers in Europe to distribute its G10IL netbook.

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Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

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