PHILIPPINES--Asus has unveiled the eePC, its latest line of low-cost portable personal computers, and highlights the country as one of its main "target" markets in the region.
In a press briefing held here last week, the Taiwanese hardware maker said basic specifications of the eePC include an Intel processor, Linux operating system, 512MB RAM and storage capacity from 4GB to 16GB.
Leon Yu, Asus country manager, said the 4GB model has been released in the Philippines ahead of the other configurations, which will debut in the local market early next year.
"The Philippines, as well as Hong Kong and Australia, will be the top targets for the eePC," Yu added.
The price of the 4GB variant is pegged at 19,800 pesos (US$457.4), while pricing for the other configurations are still unavailable.
Despite its minute size, with a 7-inch screen and weighing a little less than 1 kilogram, the eePC is a "full multimedia, full Internet, and full communications" portable device, Yu said.
The significant weight reduction was made possible by putting in an SSD (solid state disks) storage device, instead of a harddisk, he said.
According to Yu, Asus is seeing brisk sales in terms of advance orders. The company is eyeing to ship about 3,000 eePCs in the Philippine market before year-end.
Not up for Classmate
An Intel executive, meanwhile, said the eePC will not compete directly with the Classmate PC, Intel's own low-cost laptop, which will not be available in the general retail market in the Philippines.
"The two products are aimed at different markets," said Carlo Subido, business solutions manager at Intel. He added that unlike the eePC, the Classmate PC will be marketed specifically for Philippine schools and government agencies.
The Classmate PC is also sturdier, Subido said, as it was made and designed for students. In comparison, the eePC is being marketed by Asus as a low-cost offering for first-time computer and Internet users.
At a US$300-price tag, the Intel executive said, the Classmate PC is also a tad cheaper.
The laptop is already available to schools and government bodies in the country, but Intel is scheduled to run a mass launch for Classmate PC next month, Subido added.
Intel will also be "working with local telcos" to bundle the laptop for local schools, he said. "Intel will definitely support both [Classmate PC and eePC]," he noted.
Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.