Asus said to be prepping Eee-free Atom mini laptop
Rumoured Eee spin off hastened?
Is Asus gearing up to spin off its Eee PC line, or has it lost the plot? Having extended the Eee range to a dozen laptops, it now plans to compete with itself by launching a 10.2in Atom-based mini-notebook.
So claim distributors based in Taiwan and cited by DigiTimes. Crucially, the laptop, dubbed the N series, will be based on Intel's Atom CPU, just like most of the Eee range.
Asus has apparently confirmed it will indeed be offering a new, N-series laptop next month, though it didn't comment on the other claims.
If the allegations are correct - and it's a good bet they are, given the proximity of the release; the disties will surely have seen pre-launch promo material - then it marks an interesting stage in the evolution of the Asus' Eee business.
Asus Eee PC and friend: staying with Asus, or heading off with Eee?
Following the release of the Atom-based Eee PC 901 in June, Asus began emphasising the family's name over its own. Since then, it's played down the Asus brand on packaging and removed it entirely from the machines themselves.
That led some commentators to suggest the company is preparing to spin off the Eee business as a company in its own right.
The 10.2in N series will match the 10.1in Eee PC 1000H for size, though it appears geared toward a different audience. It's claimed the machine will ship with Windows Vista rather than XP and incorporate hard drives of up to 320GB in capacity. Presumably that 10.2in panel will provide a higher resolution than the 1000H's 1024 x 600.
It's said the machine will retail for between NT$15,000 and NT$20,000 ($477-636/£256-342/€323-430), so not much more than the Eee 1000s go for.
Asus's main mistake
Surely Asus's main mistake was to listen to Techno journalists and technology fans - like us.
It was the average - don't give a damn how it works as long as it does - consumer who made the Eee PC a sucess. Then Tech Journalists and us came along with our usual sucking of teeth and said "well, it's very nice, but imagine if that screen was just a tiny bit bigger. You'd be able to get a decent sized keyboard in and run windows on it. Oh, but you'll need just a bit more RAM and one of those fancy Atom processors for that. Oh, and a bigger hard drive..."
We talked them into ruining it!
How to destroy a first mover advantage
Asus really are stupid. They gain a massive advantage of being first to market with a decent Small Cheap Computer. They then start to think that it is the Eee brand that is doing all this rather than the price point + usablility, and proceed to plaster it over every stupid more and more expensive variant they come up with, diluting the value of it and even its raison d'etre - to be small and cheap. They cosy up to Microsoft to ensure that the XP variants are priced the same as Linux versions by artificially screwing with the specs, thus increasing the entry level price point.
Stupid Stupid Stupid.
I'm not a Mac fan (I own nothing Apple), but at least they know how to launch a product.