Monday, June 30, 2008

ASUS Eee Branding Challenge: Increasing Keyboard Size Kills Uniqueness

ASUS is ready to launch new models of the Eee PCs; models are the 904 and 905. According to DigiTimes, "The Eee PC 904 and 905 will adopt Atom processors and the major difference between the two and the previous 901 model is that they feature a bigger keyboard. Asustek is still evaluating whether to make changes to the two models' battery and storage capacity."

The new models may lower the prices for the 900 and 901 so that inventory is cleared.

Warner's take is poignant: "This market seems to change almost overnight, and I'm not so sure playing "up the keyboard size" is a good thing for it in the long run." Kevin Tofel is also concerned about the change: "Where I'm really lost is in the vision. What was once a ground-breaking device in terms of size and cost appears to have become a giant test lab for Asus and consumers alike. Maybe I'm over-reacting or this is what the market is becoming: quick moving and in constant flux in terms of choice? Perhaps, but Digitimes says that the new models will replace the 901. There's just something unsettling to me when notebook models last a few short months..."

Does keyboard size matter for the Eee PCs branding? Yes. The uniqueness of the brand starts with the size, weight, and price of the product. Changing the screen size, increasing weight with different components, and now increasing the keyboard places the Eee PC in a different computer category. Consumers may opt to look at other options such as the MSI Wind or the Acer Aspire One.