Digitimes is reporting some new dirt on the activities of everyone’s favorite netbook maker, Asus [TPE:2357]. The Taiwanese manufacturer is apparently not done stuffing the Eee line with models and features, say the rumor mill, reporting that the Eee PC will get “all-day” batteries and continue to push out upgrades and functionality at an aggressive rate. Digitimes also mentions an Internet-based storage solution (not much detail beyond the title) and news that Asus is making deals with European telecom vendors, perhaps for wireless Internet functionality.
While the Eee computers can certainly get better, it seems as if the netbook market is becoming saturated at a terrific pace. If Asus expects the category to keep driving sales, they’ll have to make good on their promise of continual upgrades and feature additions; the only way I can see this segment of the portable market growing is with the sales of netbooks that bridge the cap between mobile Internet device (eg, the current Eee) and fully-functioning notebook. If Asus can capture the eyes of consumers with existing notebooks that perhaps need a hard drive or RAM upgrade, and offer a terrific value proposition — spend $500 on this new notebook instead of $200 on a simple hard drive — then they might very well sustain the volume of sales that they’ve been seeing from the Eee line. They’re also facing stiff competition at the bargain-bin level, so going high-end (and leveraging their size and in-house board manufacturing to keep MSRP down) is the only foreseeable way they can keep themselves atop the mound.CD