Taiwanese computer manufacturer Asus is set to announce an sub-notebook like EEE PC netbook with a 11.6-inch screen by the end of May, to increase the average selling price of the models.
Jerry Shen, Asus' CEO, expects 10-inch netbooks to remain the most popular version with at least 50 percent of orders for 2009 while 11.6-inch models are expected to grab 30 percent of the market.
Acer has just released the Aspire One 751 netbook with a 11.6-inch Netbook capable of displaying a rather interesting 1366x768 pixels, earning it extra cookie points for being HD ready. Asus is therefore playing catch up with its archrival; at least for now.
Asus has also unveiled plans to release a 15.6-inch ultra-thin notebook, the XS15 with a starting price of around £730, going all the way up to £900. A smaller version with a 13.3-inch screen will also be available for less. Both models will debut in July and will feature Intel's latest Consumer Ultra Low Voltage Processors.
Bigger screens are apparently the way forward, at least for Asus and Acer. Why? Because it provides them with an easy way to increase the average selling price of each laptop (hence the gross margin).
Acer and Asus are also using these supersized netbooks to squeeze models from traditional laptop manufacturers like Sony and Toshiba, literally till the pip squeaks. Since they do not offer anything in these range, it is a good way for them to penetrate and threaten existing players.
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Asus stated some months ago that it was going to reduce the number of EEE PC models on the market but it seems that this is unlikely to happen More than 50 million netbooks are expected to sell next year with Acer and Asus taking the biggest chunks of this tasty pie. As customers dictate their wants, expect netbooks with bigger screens to join in the fray sooner rather than later.
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