Thursday, June 9, 2011

Asustek to sell new ultra-thin notebook at a price US$100 cheaper than MacBook Air

Taiwan-based notebook brand vendor Asustek Computer, which showcased its latest ultra-thin 11.6-inch UX21 notebook at Computex 2011, is expected to set the model's price at US$100 cheaper than Apple's MacBook Air with similar specifications. The model is estimated to show up in the retail channel in September, according to sources from the upstream notebook supply chain.

The UX 21 features an industrial design of 3mm at its thinnest part and 17mm at the thickest, similar to that of MacBook Air, while the two notebooks also share a similar weight at around 1.1kg, giving the UX 21 a great opportunity to challenge MacBook Air.

Asustek adopts an open-cell panel for the UX 21 to realize the model's ultra-thin design, while the adoption of an aluminum chassis and solid state drive (SSD) helps reduce heat, while shrinking down the thickness of the notebook.

As Apple is estimated to launch new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs with an updated platform in June or July, Asustek is monitoring Apple's pricing strategy closely and will offer its product at a cheaper price level to gain an advantage.

However, the sources pointed out that since MacBook Air currently accounts for about 10-20% of Apple's MacBook sales, indicating that out of Apple's total MacBook sales of three million units each quarter, Apple is capable of selling about 300,000-600,000 MacBook Airs. If Asustek's ultra-thin notebook cannot reach such a volume, the company is likely to have higher production costs which combined with the lower price point will affect profitability.

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