The Computex technology trade show starts on Tuesday, and while there will be over 1700 exhibitors, there are some companies and products that are worth keeping a closer eye on than others.
Asus will probably introducing a few dozen devices at Computext. OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but over the past few weeks the company has let loose with some limited amount of info about its upcoming Eee PC desktop, two new laptops, and a Wii-mote inspired remote control.
- Eee PC 901 – This will be the first mini-notebook from Asus sporting an Intel Atom CPU. We haven’t seen an official price or list of specs yet, so I suspect that Asus will release those this week. The 901 is rumored to have a price as high as $650, which is a far cry from the mythical $200 laptop the company first promised last year. But you get what you pay for, and in this case that could mean longer battery life and better performance.
- Eee PC 1000 – Asus will also be introducing its first mini-laptop with a 10 inch display. No word on the processor, price, display resolution or release date.
- Eee Box – A few web sites have already gotten their hands on the upcoming Eee Box or EBOX. This desktop computer will likely come in Windows XP and Linux varieties. Both will be tiny by desktop standards and lack an optical disc drive. While it might be tempting to stick one next to your TV and use it as a media center, the noisy fans and relatively slow CPU will limit their utility for home media center use. Plus, you know, that lack of an optical drive. On the plus side, hard drives will range from 80GB to 250GB. There’s no need for solid state memory if your PC is going to be sitting in one place most of the time.
We’ve heard next to nothing about the Acer Aspire One — the upcoming low-cost laptop from Acer. A few leaked photos hit the web last week, but that’s about all we have to go on. No word on pricing, availability, or specs. Stay tuned.
The MSI Wind laptop is probably the most exciting subnotebook since the Asus Eee PC. The computer sports an Intel Atom CPU, up to 7 hours of battery life (if you believe the official specs), a full sized keyboard, and a 10 inch 1024 x 600 pixel display. The computer weighs less than 3 pounds, which means it’s a bit heavier than the competition, but still small by today’s notebook standards. And best of all, the Linux model will reportedly cost just $399 while the Windows XP version will sell for $549, making the MSI Wind one of the most affordable computers on the market without sacrificing performance. MSI also plans to release a desktop version of the Wind.
We’ve known for a while that Dell was going to be entering the low-cost ultraportable market. It’s still not 100% clear whether Dell’s upcoming subnotebook will be available in developed markets or if it’s just meant for distribution in developing nations (think the OLPC XO Laptop). But we do know one thing for certain: It sure looks pretty. Gizmodo’s Brian Lam talked CEO Michael Dell into letting him snap a few photos last week, and the company followed up with a few press shots of its own.
Last we heard, HP doesn’t plan to offer an updated version of the HP 2133 Mini-Note for another 5 months or so. But with the Intel Atom CPU coming out in June and the VIA Nano processor set to launch not long after, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a little something from HP next week. While the Mini-Note has the most attractive screen and keyboard of any existing low-cost subnotebook, the sluggish VIA C7-M CPU really drags down the computer’s performance. If HP can upgrade that chip soon, it should be able to hold its own against Asus, MSI, and Acer in this space.
I’m sure there will be a few other exciting announcements. At the very least, we can be certain that some of the less well known computer makers I’ve been covering for the past few months will be presenting their PCs at Computex. But for now, I’d say Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and MSI are the companies to keep a close eye on. What do you think? What computers and companies are you hoping/expecting to hear more from next week?
Update: As Josh points out in the comments, Dell and HP are not on the exhibitor list. I wouldn’t put it past either company to make an announcement to coincide with Computex. But it’s kind of wishful thinking on my part that HP might announce anything this week. Dell, on the other hand… yeah, that might be wishful thinking too. But it does look like they at least have a prototype, since Michael Dell was carrying one around with him last week.