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Asustek evaluating Qualcomm-based Eee PCs

Netbook and laptop manufacturer Asus is evaluating the possibility of developing a lineup of its popular Eee PC family that uses Qualcomm's platform, according to Samson Hu, general manager of Eee PC business at Asustek, in a report by DigiTimes.The company does not currently have any mass production plans for non-Intel Atom-based Eee PCs, according to Hu in the report.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor
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Netbook and laptop manufacturer Asus is evaluating the possibility of developing a lineup of its popular Eee PC family that uses Qualcomm's platform, according to Samson Hu, general manager of Eee PC business at Asustek, in a report by DigiTimes.

The company does not currently have any mass production plans for non-Intel Atom-based Eee PCs, according to Hu in the report.

At the moment, Asus' Eee PC line is offered in three categories: high-end Netbooks priced over $400, such as the S101 and S101H; mid-level Netbooks priced from $299 to 399, such as the 1000HE and 1008HA; and entry-level Netbooks priced under $299, mostly with 8.9-inch screens.

Hu gave no indication of which category a Qualcomm-based Eee PC might fall within.

In a clarification to earlier reports, Hu said in the report that Asus will not completely phase out its 8.9-inch Netbook offerings in 2009, instead continuing to produce small amounts for telecom and government procurement markets. (The 7-inch model, on the other hand, is going the way of the dodo.)

This is part of a greater push by the industry toward Netbooks with bigger screens and more powerful components inside.

In the report, Hu also estimated that Eee PCs will account for 15 percent of global Netbook shipments to the telecom market in 2009. "Rotatable" touchscreen Eee PCs, such as the T91 and T101, will account for 10 percent of the company's total Eee PC shipments this year, he said.

With the global economy still hurting, already the average sale price for mainstream 10-inch Eee PCs has dropped to the $299 to 399 range. As competition in the Netbook market heats up, and manufacturer profit margins shrink, the ASP will have chance to drop below $299, Hu said in the article.

Interestingly, Hu said in the article that he believes Intel's consumer ultra low voltage (CULV) platform-based notebooks will impact emerging markets the most, rather than developed markets.

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