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Asustek venturing into budget laptops

Asustek Computer Inc., the world’s largest motherboard maker, is tapping into the market for budget notebook PCs with a slew of products scheduled for launch in the second half of the year.

“Tech giants such as Intel Corp don’t want to miss out on the potential of the budget PC segment, and we are working with [Intel] to tap into the market,” confirmed an Asustek official, who requested anonymity, in a telephone interview yesterday.

He was responding to a report that came out yesterday in the Chinese-language Commercial Times, which said Asustek would introduce a series of low-priced PCs based on Intel’s Classmate PC platform in the second half of the year.

Joining hands with Intel offers Asustek the chance to move into a new segment, while beefing up its economies of scale in computer production, the official said.

Details of these budget laptops, including channels and distribution, still need to be ironed out, but they would not be Asustek’s main product line, he added.

According to the Commercial Times report, the five budget laptop models would be priced from US$199 to US$549.

They will employ Intel’s Solid State Disk with flash memory from 1 gigabyte to 40 gigabytes, instead of the standard mechanical hard drive, the report said.

The 7-inch panels for the notebook computers will be sourced from AU Optronics Corp., it added.

“Although profit margins for these low-end PCs will not be as good as its other notebook computer series, Asustek will immediately benefit from the scale,” Daniel Chang (張

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