The EEE laptop goes upmarket, grows faster than the iPod

Asus CEO, Jerry Chen, exposed some future plans about the EEE laptop to Joanna Stern of Laptop Magazine. In a nutshell, the EEE looks set to go upmarket and target better known names.

As we wrote in February, household names like Sony are bound to feel the heat as the master of OEMs brings cheap ultra portables to the market in a bid to increase average selling prices (and make shareholders happy).

Asus was bold enough to start the cheap sub laptop revolution and has been the first to reap the fruits : more than 350,000 EEE laptops have been sold in Q4 2007, nearly twice Asus's prediction.

Comparisons could be made between another iconic gadget, the iPod and the EEE : the Apple iPod (an image file) had to wait for nearly six quarters before iPod sales reached the EEE's level.

Chen said that the EEE experienced tremendous demand in Japan and Europe and that only an acute battery shortage prevented the Asus EEE from selling more and he also expects between 300000 and 400000 EEE laptops to be sold per month in Europe alone.

Specs-wise, the EEE will be beefed up with options for traditional hard drives and non-Linux operating system being a certainty; although this will come with a substantial price increase.

The EEE laptop appears to be an Intel only platform for now and will feature in several colours as well.

An important component of the EEE strategy will be online services with Chen saying that a 10GB space, five times the storage capacity of the smallest EEE laptop, will be provided to EEE owners.