Fri, May 19, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Asustek delays mobile PC

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), the world's largest motherboard manufacturer and a major notebook computer maker, will delay the debut of its first ultra-mobile PCs by about two months as the products are still in the final stages of fine-tuning, company executives said yesterday.

The official launch date will be pushed back to late July or early August, around two months later than the original date, according to Tony Chen (陳志雄), general manager of Asustek's notebook business.

"We are now enhancing the product specifications with our partners Intel and Microsoft to prepare for the product debut," he said on the sidelines of a product launch.

The performance and reliability of the machines, particularly in boosting the gaming experience and battery life, are being maximized to offer users a much better overall experience, said product manager Alvin Chou (周慶華).

Microsoft Corp and its hardware partners -- Asustek, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co, Japan's Sony Corp and China's Founder Group (方正集團) -- took the wraps off Project Origami in March, unveiling a new breed of PCs at CeBIT, the world's largest technology trade fair which is held annually in Germany.

Featuring a 7-inch touch screen, these PCs are super-portable, fully featured computers and weigh around 1.1kg, roughly the size of a paperback book.

By utilizing the company's proprietary new "Power4 Gear +" battery conservation technology, Asustek said its new machines will offer at least 30 minutes longer battery life than Samsung's 3.5 hours.

Asustek said it will win over users with a price tag under US$1,000.

"We hope to bring our prices down to around US$900," Chen said.

The company will initially target markets such as Europe, the US, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong during the official introduction of the PCs, he added.

"These are important markets where Asustek's notebooks have garnered strong support," Chen said, citing that over 50 percent of the company's brandname notebook sales were now generated by Europe.

Asustek's ultra-mobile PCs, dubbed the R2H, will come in two versions, with the more expensive device embedding a global positioning system (GPS) antenna, which can be used in conjunction with in-car navigation software running on Windows XP.

They will also employ a special fingerprint sensor. The built-in Web cam allows it to function with video telephony.

Local consumers will be able to get a glimpse of the R2H at Computex Taipei, the world's second-largest technology trade show, which runs from June 6 to 10 at the Taipei World Trade Center.

Along with the R2H, Asustek is also set to showcase flagship notebooks including its first batch of tablet PCs and the bright yellow Lamborghini VX1 performance notebook at the show.

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