Asus CEO Jerry Shen is providing a peek at the company’s roadmap, and it looks like there’s plenty of room for low-cost notebooks. Speaking to investors, Shen said Asus plans to launch a new Transformer Book with a 10 inch display and a price tag of $399 or less in the second half of 2013.
Asus is also working on its first Chromebook, and plans to launch a laptop running Google’s Chrome OS in the second half of the year.
The Taiwanese company made a name for itself a few years ago with the popular Eee PC line of netbooks. But as netbooks have waned in popularity, Asus has largely shifted its attention to tablets, ultrabooks, and other computers with higher-price tags.
But while that space offers higher profit margins, the marketplace is also pretty crowded. So it’s not surprising to see that Asus is considering launching new low-cost products.
In fact, Asus has already started doing that. The Asus VivoBook X202E is one of the cheapest Windows 8 notebooks available with an 11.6 inch, touchscreen display. While it has a list price of around $500, you can often find it on sale for as low as $399.
And the Asus 1015E is a 10 inch laptop with an Intel Celeron 847 dual core processor that sells for as little as $249. That makes it cheaper than many old-school netbooks, but this mini-laptop has a processor that’s much more powerful than any Intel Atom chip.
The upcoming Asus Transformer Book 10 inch computer would be about the same size as the 1015E, but it would have a removable touchscreen display that you could use as a tablet.
Asus already offers a 13 inch Transformer Book in some countries, but that model has a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, a high-resolution display, and a price tag close to $1500. It’s likely the 10 inch model will have more modest specs in order to allow Asus to sell the device for between $299 and $399.
As for the upcoming Asus Chromebook, it sounds like Asus plans to target education and government markets rather than consumers. That’s similar to the approach Lenovo and HP have taken with their Chrome OS laptops.