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Sometime in June 2007, Asus promised to bring a full-functioning sub-$200 laptop to the market. It was a direct response to the much publicized OLPC XO laptop which was planned to be released for $100 and which was a collaboration between Asus and Intel. In October 2007, the Eee PC was released with a 7-inch display, a 2GB Solid State Drive, and some other standard laptop features. This small notebook eventually paved the way for a new niche in the PC industry called the netbook. Unfortunately, Asus did not release the Eee PC for the promised $199. Although the Eee PC 700 was not released with the price sub-$200 plan, it still it became such a big hit since it was a full-functioning portable laptop at a price less than commensurate with its features.
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The Not-So-Sub-$200 Netbook
More than a year after the first Eee PC became a big hit, Asus has introduced a series of new models that evolved from the original Eee PC 2G Surf. As of today, there are around 20+ models of the Eee PC, with all of them upgrades of the Eee PC 700 series. But as the specs and features of the original Eee PC were upgraded, so, too, were the prices. Asus may have not achieved its original intent of coming up with a sub-$200 laptop, but the plethora of netbook variants that the company have released sparked the continuously growing interest for netbooks.
Currently, the original Eee PC 700's market price has not yet come down below $200. This only goes to show that demand for such product is still high. Current unit price of the Eee PC 700 at Amazon.com, is still around $245.
So, what happen to the promised sub-$200 dollar netbook? Will Asus still push through with its original plan? Or has the success of the Eee PC netbook series affected Asus’s original plan such that it will continue to bring in more sophisticated, more powerful, and more expensive netbook products?
Is there still a hope for a sub-$200 netbook?
Well, we really believe so. Asus may have not yet fulfilled its promise, but that doesn't mean that it has no plans of fulfililng that promise anymore. Given the sophisticated demand for netbook's specs, it may still come true soon. If component prices go down, Asus will definitely push through the $200 barrier.
Another good development is the fact that other PC manufacturers are trying to release a sub-$200 of their own. We’ve seen quite a few of them during the recently concluded CES 2009. Among which is the COBY branded netbook which is supposed to have a less than $200 price tag.
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Hopefully, everybody’s dream of a sub-$200 laptop would come to a reality soon. PC manufacturers wanting to enter the already saturated netbook market can very well take this lead instead of competing in terms of features and specs with Asus, Acer, MSI and the other bigwigs of the industry. A cheaper and yet reliable alternative would be a good way of joining the netbook industry, an industry brought to life by Asus - and its supposed sub-$200 laptop that almost came into reality.
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Image credit: Asus