Asustek launches laptop for developing world

Taiwan computer maker Asustek Computer Inc. on Tuesday launched its low-cost laptop computer, one the company said will put the internet within the reach of users in the developing world.

Taiwan computer maker Asustek Computer Inc. on Tuesday launched its low-cost laptop computer, one the company said will put the internet within reach of users in the developing world.

Asustek said the Eee PC, which will be marketed under the company's ASUS brand, has a combination of compact size, rugged build and low-cost that will make it an attractive option for people unfamiliar with computers, the company said in a statement.

The portable notebook is more compact than other notebooks, in part because it eschews a hard disk drive for flash memory storage, the company said. The laptop runs on the Linux operating system, though the computer is also compatible with Windows XP.

A simplified model of the product priced at $199 US will be available to consumers in the developing world, while models with more features will be available in developed markets for between $245 US and $299 US.
Company president Jonathan Tsang said on Tuesday the company expects to ship over three million units in 2008.

Asustek, the world's largest maker of computer motherboards, is also among the world's top 10 laptop makers.

It's also not the only organization to target their computers to the developing world.

China's Lenovo Group Ltd., the world's fourth-largest PC maker, announced in August it would begin selling a basic personal computer to people in rural China for as low as $199 US.

And Massachusetts-based non-profit group One Laptop Per Child said in July it has received three million orders and will begin mass production of its XO laptop.

The XO, which will cost about $175 US, is meant to give children in poorer countries a chance to use the internet and computing technology. It was designed to be cheap to make, energy efficient and appropriate for tough conditions.

Corrections

  • The Eee PC is compatible with Windows XP, not Windows Vista, as originally reported.
    Oct 16, 2007 3:10 PM ET