A small Taiwanese PC firm with lofty ambitions is preparing to take the next step in the own-brand PC industry with First International Computer Inc’s (FIC, 大眾電腦) release of its first tablet computer.
The 30-year-old company makes notebooks and desktops on a contract manufacturing basis and also ships PCs carrying own-brand logos in Japan, the US and China in small volumes.
It has decided to heighten its global profile by rolling out a slew of tablets that will carry the “FIC” logo beginning next year. The foray will first begin on its home turf, with its first tablet scheduled to be launched on Saturday.
“FIC has been laying low for quite awhile and our performance wasn’t very impressive either in the past few years,” FIC’s chief operating officer Leo Chien (簡民智) said. “Next year is the time for us to make a hike up the hill and we will make the splash with tablets.”
Chien said the company sniffed the trend of a tablet revival early this year and launched research and development activities in April.
“Users need something that is even more portable than a netbook. With tablets weighing less than 1kg, it is a good fit,” he said.
The tablet FIC showcased yesterday has been designated “Tycoon,” and is targeted at business executives that demand productivity on the go.
The 10.1-inch model runs on Windows 7, sports a 120GB hard drive, an Intel Atom N455 processor and weighs 840g. It will start selling on the U-Life TV shopping channel on Saturday, with telecom partners, including Vibo Telecom Inc (威寶電信), to sell the device later.
Tycoons will sell for NT$19,800 apiece, compared with Apple iPad’s US$499 entry-level price with Wi-Fi connectivity and 16GB of storage capacity.
Chien said the shipments in Taiwan would be a few thousand units a month. Total volume will round up to 50,000 units per month if shipments to overseas contract clients are taken into account.
Despite taking a lead over Taiwanese PC peers by launching a tablet, FIC is set to compete against giants Acer Inc (宏碁) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) in winning over users’ hearts.
Acer is set to announce its first tablets in New York at the end of the month, while Asustek will unveil its own version in January.
Meanwhile, Vibo is also following in the tablet chase with plans to launch its own-brand tablet called “Vpad” next week.
Vibo president Chang Feng--hsiung (張豐雄) told reporters yesterday that the 7-inch model will run on the Android 2.2 operating system.