Hey OLPC: Asustek's Got A $200 Laptop Already

Taiwan-based Asustek announced today a new laptop line, dubbed Eee PCs, that are directly aimed at both existing and developing markets. It's just a solid no-frills inexpensive unit for existing markets, aimed at casual users. In so-called developing markets Asustek expects to sell the computers to large educational and governmental buyers for as little as $200 per unit. In a departure from earlier announcements, Asustek is going to offer Microsoft's Windows operating system, which will add about $35 to the cost of the original free Linux system.

The Eee PCs will carry Asustek's brand name, as the Taiwan firm seeks to follow in the footsteps of hometown rival Acer in trying to develop a globally recongised (sic) brand.

The firm is in the process of separating its branded business from its manufacturing business, the latter of which makes laptops for not only the Asustek line, but also major global vendors like Apple Inc and Dell Inc.

Among the 7 million notebook PCs the company aims to ship this year, some 4.2 million laptops will carry its own name, up sharply from 2.7 million units last year.

Asustek Chairman Jonney Shih said the company has high hopes for the Eee PC line, which could possibly make up as much as 20 percent of the global market for laptop PC sales by 2010.

7" display, Intel mobile CPU, Linux/Windows XP compatible, 56k modem, 10/100 Mbps ethernet, WiFi enabled, 512 MB memory, up to 16 GB of marvelous Flash storage, a webcam, microphone and built-in speakers. Expect 3 hours of battery life. I'll make a wager here. Even in places so poor they'd eat a penguin if they saw one, no one will get the Linux distro.

Tags:  Asus, laptop, PC, OLPC, Asustek, Read, EA, AP, K