The Eee PC T91 is the first touchscreen netbook from Asus to hit the market. And DigiTimes is reporting that it could be the last. While the company has already announced to launch a larger, 10 inch touchscreen netbook called the Eee PC T101H this fall, according to DigiTimes industry sources say Asus wants to see how the T91 fares first.

In other words, if the Eee PC T91 is a flop, don’t hold your breathe waiting for the Eee PC T101H. Asus could delay its launch, scale back shipments, or cancel the laptop altogether.

And that would be a huge shame. Because let’s face it: The Eee PC T91 has some issues. But they aren’t all related to the touchscreen or the Asus Touch Gate software. In my review of the T91, I primarily took issue with 3 things:

  1. The sluggish 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU and 16GB SSD
  2. The cramped, tiny keyboard
  3. The operating system and software which didn’t go far enough to include touch-friendly features

All three of those things could easily be addressed by a 10 inch model released this fall. Just swap out the Atom Z530 CPU for a faster Intel Atom N270/N280 processor, or hold out for the more energy efficient Atom N450 CPU which should be out later this year. The 10 inch model will almost certainly have a larger keyboard. And if you wait until October, you can release the netbook with Windows 7 preloaded instead of Windows XP. While Windows 7 Starter Edition isn’t expected to have many touchscreen-optimized features, Windows 7 Home Premium will.

The problem, as I see it, is that Asus decided not only to make the Eee PC T91 the company’s first touchscreen netbook. Asus also decided to make it the company’s smallest netbook with an 8.9 inch display. And in order to do that, the company had to make some design choices like using a slower processor and SSD in order to allow for a fanless design and decent battery life in a small form factor. So performance suffers. But I don’t think you can judge the idea of all touchscreen netbooks based on the success or failure of the Eee PC T91 in the market. It’s quite possible that if Asus had released a 10 inch model right off the bat, it would have met more positive reviews, especially if it had a faster CPU.

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4 replies on “If the Eee PC T91 doesn’t sell well, Asus may scrap future touchscren netbook plans”

  1. The strange thing to me is that a great deal of effort was made in some areas, yet the final product has some shortcuts. It’s design seems to be the product of a committee with conflicting interests, some wanting to go all out with their assignment and others saying, no, this is just a prototype to test the wind, and we don’t want to waste too much time on it, remember the economy.

    They went to some trouble to engineer a fanless model but their previous decision to get out of the 9″ netbook market (just for now I hope) is probably what led them to saddle it with a keyboard from days of yore, with right-shift-up-arrow-itis. This, combined with the sluggish processor and unfinished tablet software, will nix it for all but the most rabid tablet fans.

  2. I expect this will fail, and that will indeed be a pity. Still far too confused a model line-up from ASUS, and this is one of the more crazily overpriced members of that line-up. If this was one of just three or four clearly distinct models, and priced to sell, it might be an entirely different story.

  3. It would be a shame to see the tablet killed off based on the performance of the T91. I would have preferred they killed the T91 in favor of waiting for a newer generation with Windows 7. Give me a descent computer and I will buy one in a heartbeat. The T91 is not that computer.

  4. It sure doesn’t seem logical to base future production choices on the failure of model that was crippled from the start.

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