Asus predicts Windows Eee PC will outsell Linux version

Asustek Computer Inc. (Asus) predicts that the Eee PC it has started selling with Microsoft Windows XP Home edition on board will outsell the original Linux-based version by a ratio of 6 to 4 by the end of this year — a heady prediction considering the Windows machine costs nearly twice as much as the cheapest Linux one.

The company has forecast Eee PC shipments at around 5 million units this year. Based on the 6-to-4 ratio the company predicts, Asus could ship around 3 million Windows Eee PCs and 2 million Linux ones.

"A lot of people have been waiting for the Windows version," said Jonney Shih, chairman of Asus, at a news conference in Taipei on Thursday.

The company is selling two different versions of the Windows Eee PC laptop. The cheapest one, the Eee PC Surf XP, priced at $408 (U.S.), has a 7-in. LCD screen, 4GB of NAND flash memory for storage and 512MB of DDR2 dynamic RAM. The more expensive version, the Eee PC 4G XP, costs $473 (U.S.) and includes an additional 4GB SD card for storage as well as a slightly better battery, which can last up to 3.5 hours vs. 2.8 hours for the cheaper model. The more expensive model also will have a built-on 3-megapixel digital camera.

The laptops both run on Intel Pentium M chips and weigh less than a kilogram.

The lowest cost Eee PC available runs on a Linux OS from Xandros, carries just 2GB of NAND flash for storage and sells for around $261 (U.S.).

Asus formally launched the Eee PC with Windows XP on board at the CeBIT trade show earlier this month in Germany. The devices can be found at stores or online in most countries, but prices vary slightly depending on local costs, taxes and duties, said Jose Liao, head of Taiwan sales at Asus.

The version of Windows XP running on the Eee PC is not the one being designed in conjunction with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation, said Davis Tsai, general manager of Microsoft Taiwan. Microsoft has been working with OLPC to develop a scaled-down version of XP for the XO laptop developed by the group. Windows XP requires more storage capacity than was originally built onto the XO laptop.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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