Asus Forecasts Quarterly Shipments Nearly Doubling for Eee PCs
There appears to be no stopping the success Asus is having with its Eee PC subnotebooks. The company is forecasting this week that it will nearly double shipments of the svelte, low-cost machines in the second quarter. Shipments will rise to between 1.2 million to 1.3 million units, the company says, and it expects to move a whopping 5 million units this year. To put that in perspective, Asus shipped 350,000 units in the fourth quarter. Originally all Linux-based, the company will deliver a Windows-based Eee PC in early May. Can we expect the Linux versions to stick around?
In case you've lost track of which versions of the Eee PC are now offered, there are the Eee PC 4G (a Linux version with 4GB of storage, seen at left), the EeePC 8G (an 8GB version also running Linux), and the upcoming Eee PC 900 (a Windows or Linux version with either 12GB or 20GB of storage). All the systems now run Intel mobile chips instead of the VIA chips they originally had--an improvement. They all also have 802.11g Wi-Fi on board.
After using an original Eee PC myself I found that my chief complaint was that the 7-inch screen was so small that I often had to scroll to the right when browsing. The Eee PC 900 (at left) solves this problem by building in an 8.9-inch screen. Other than the small displays on some models, these are excellent systems to keep around the house for browsing, or to take on-the-go for writing-, browsing-,e-mail-type work. The systems are very lightweight--under two pounds--and lightweight subnotebooks are one of the hottest parts of the portable computing market.
We've asked the question once before: Can the Linux-based versions of these low-cost machines stick around? I think they definitely can. The Linux versions come with over 40 open source applications, including OpenOffice.org for productivity applications, Mozilla's Firefox browser, and many more. There is more than enough open source software on the Linux systems to make them worth the rock-bottom prices they sell for.
So where do those prices sit now? I found the Eee PC 4G online for $348 at OnSale.com. The Asus 900 series launches May 12th, with prices starting at $549. Expect it to be a big seller, although there are reports from early users in England that the battery life is significantly lower than previous versions--not suprising given the larger display. Here's a nice photo tour of the 900. The Eee PC 8G can be found online at several sites for around $400.
These systems remain good news for open source. They promise to put Linux and good OSS applications in front of millions of people each year.
Have you used an Asus Eee PC?