Asus Eee PC review | The industry
Eee PC for underdeveloped countries
Asus philosophy and ambitions
This was, however, never the intention of the Taiwanese company Asus, claims marketing manager Milan Radojicic. During the launch of the mini laptop in Taipei in 2007, president of Asus, Jonney Shih claimed that this product was aiming to build bridges and cover the gaps in the market. He referred to the philosophy of giving every person in this world a chance to own a PC and be able to connect to other people in the world through the Internet. Europeans, Americans etc, with a PC coverage of nearly 80% will probably wonder what this man is talking about but our view is very different from people living in the underdeveloped countries. The philosophy behind the Eee PC of course also has a business side to it. Asus aim to get this PC to millions of people that currently are not in the possession of one, not only the people that cannot afford a desk top; also the large group of elderly and extremely young people not using a PC at this moment. Shih mentions a billion dollar market.
Asus Eee PC notebook
Eee stands for three times Easy
The name Eee stands for three times Easy: Easy to learn, Easy to play and Easy to work. It made the Asus brand name become a house-hold name. Three years ago, the company was mainly famous for its mother boards and PC products were scarcely found in shops. This is changing rapidly, says Radojicic. The organization is putting a lot of effort in placing Asus products in every electronics shop. The Eee PC opens doors. Radojicic: 'We call it a 'Hero' product and we compare it with the introduction of the Wii and the iPod.'
A year and a half ago, 17 inch notebooks were ‘hot’. Initially, it seemed the idea of 7 inch notebooks could not by any means make sense, since the consumer simply has no demand for a 7 inch notebook, nor is it a trend, since it is all about larger devices with more possibilities. However, you can either obediently follow the trends or try to go in an entirely different direction. Our CEO talks about two billion of potential PC users. It had to be cheap and simple. This resulted in the use of Linux and open source software. Besides that, it has to be solid. And let's be honest, you don’t allow your child to go to school with a 1700 dollar laptop? With a device that offers many more possibilities that they use at school. I, myself for instance, used to work in the train a lot, which you don't like to do with a 17 inch laptop weighing some three kilos. With this new device, however, you will do it. You can even drop it and nothing happens to it. It has a solid state drive instead of a hard drive which makes it a lot more shockproof and it has been built a lot more solidly than the average notebook,' says Radojicic.
Asus Eee PC operating system
Asus Eee PC with Linux & Windows XP
At this moment the cheapest model is available in the shops. With Linux, a 4GB solid state drive, webcam and WiFi on board, you will pay 299 Euros, (VAT included). In June, if all went well, the somewhat more expensive model was launched onto the market, also with Linux, yet the screen and memory both a tad larger: 8.9 inch and a 20GB solid state drive. This model will cost 399 Euros. At the same time Asus brings out a Windows XP version that also costs 399 Euros. Radojicic: 'According to a number of people, you lose the balance you just found with this new PC. We have been visiting many schools lately and they have a large demand for the Windows XP platform and the larger screen. We could not ignore this demand. And let's be honest, 399 Euros is still not a bad price. Of course 500 Euros will buy you a 15 inch entry level laptop. However, you will be stuck again with a device that is far too large and too heavy, a completely different experience. Try and buy a laptop of our sizes. They reach prices like 2000 Euros and with a solid state drive they would be like 2700 Euros.'
Portable Asus notebook
Portable format for everybody
Main target group for this product were the children. However, Asus soon found out that the group of users is much broader. Especially to those users who want to make a PowerPoint presentation, type some text or read their emails, the Eee is a fine alternative. These things are now done on their PDAs that are rather limited as far as size and readability go. The group of small business users will just add this device to their possessions. These are the users that Radojicic predicts will be the first to order an Eee PC. 'I watch my favourite series on my Eee PC in the garden, it has become a portable TV for me,' says Radojicic. 'There are so many new possibilities thanks to the fact that this device is a mature computer in a portable size.'