Over the years there have been several attempts to come up with products that fit into the gap between PDA and full-blown laptop.
There are two reasons why most of them have sunk without trace. Firstly the components under the hood were not much cop and the unrealistic pricing failed to reflect that. Secondly the name on the box was one that the channel and the customer base had never heard of.
It was not so much an issue of being against the no-brands but when it comes to breaking a market it helps to have someone that has a brand strong enough to make a difference.
Asus certainly matches that description and it should be more successful with its Eee PC than some of the contenders that have trodden this path in the past.
The Eee PC is being pitched at a wide audience, ranging from businesses to schools. It has an easy to navigate system that contains all the tools anyone would need to browse, connect and communicate.
Available in a number of colours, this is also going to appeal to the female constituency that has been in computer manufacturers’ sights for a number of years.
The points that Asus is pushing include the low weight (less than 1kg), the 7in
screen and the built-in webcam along with the friendly interface.
The Eee PC clearly has more capability than a PDA and its keyboard is a distinct advantage. But add to that the different options with the web, Skype and a number of productivity tools and it is also edging ahead of most handhelds.
Sure, the argument is harder to win if it is put up against a laptop, which benefits from more power under the hood as well as a larger screen, but a laptop has nowhere near the same level of portability as the Eee PC.
With some schools talking about phasing textbooks out to replace them with a laptop per child, it is a timely launch into the market from Asus and although some critics will no doubt predict a life for the product in some niches there will not be too many complaints from the channel if they are deep and lucrative ones.
There is a gap between the PDA and the laptop and no-one has really bridged it but the Eee PC provides the best chance yet for the channel to prise open this end of the market.
Bridging the gap
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