Fri, Nov 21, 2008 - Page 12 News List

PC makers rely on low prices

MONEY TALKS The first priority for netbook shoppers is price, then screen size, then brand, a representative from consumer electronics chain Rainbow Plaza said

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Computer makers Asustek Computer Inc (Asus, 華碩電腦), Micro-Star International Co (MSI, 微星科技), and Fujitsu Ltd, have rolled out a series of desktops and notebooks for the holiday season. To combat a particularly chilly retail outlook, they are relying on innovation and low prices to lure consumers.

According to Intel’s Asia-Pacific general manager, Navin Shenoy, more than 1 billion notebooks will be sold in the next five years.

“The focus will be netbooks, entertainment, and all-in-ones,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Asus has introduced an all-in-one touch sensitive 16.5 inch screen desktop called EeeTop to add variety to its successful Eee PC line. EeeTop is similar to Apple Computer’s iMac and Hewlett Packard’s TouchSmart but is more affordable and is designed for portability around the house.

“The introduction of our Eee series was called ‘disruptive innovation’ in the computer world. We continue our commitment to bringing the best technology at the most affordable prices to our customers and we value the importance of a strong brand name,” Asus chairman Jonney Shih (施崇棠) said at a media briefing yesterday.

EeeTop is more like a multi-media center than a PC, said Eddie Wu (吳勝雄) of Microsoft Corp at the same briefing.

“Asus is prescient in seeing the decline of the economy and taking advantage of the slowdown in consumer spending by coming to market with these inexpensive, value-added computers,” he said.

Priced at NT$18,900 (US$565.53), EeeTop is minimalist in design, features Windows XP Home, an Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive. It comes with 4W HiFi speakers, SRS Premium Sound effects and a 1.3-megapixel camera.

Micro-Star came out with its laptop series with various focuses and netbook: U120. With this complete family of notebook computers, the nation’s No. 3 motherboard maker hopes to be one of the top 10 notebook players in the world by 2010, Joseph Hsu (徐祥), president MSI said on Wednesday.

“Propelled by strong market demand, Fujitsu came out with our version of the netbook,” Juline Ren (任兆琳) marketing communications manager of Fujitsu’s Asia Pacific region said yesterday.

The netbook war is intense, Sara Tian (田家欣) of consumer electronics chain Rainbow Plaza, said yesterday.

“The first priority for netbook shoppers is price, then screen size, then brand. In the world of low-priced PCs, Asus and Acer are still the top two popular choices with Lenovo coming in at a distant third in our outlets,” she said. “But most shoppers are waiting on the sidelines hoping for further reductions towards the end of the year.”

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