Samsung considers cheaper version of Ultra Mobile PC

Trying to attract more buyers

HANOVER, GERMANY - Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. may produce a cheaper version of its new Q1 Ultra ultra-mobile PC in a bid to boost sales, a senior company executive said Thursday.

"In order to have more users who can afford this kind of product, we are thinking of coming up with a second version," said H.S. Kim, executive vice president and general manager of Samsung's computer division, speaking at the launch of the Q1 Ultra at the annual Cebit exhibition in Hanover, Germany.

Samsung won't yet disclose the price of the Q1 Ultra, which will hit store shelves around the world in May. But executives said the device will be priced similarly to its predecessor, the Q1, which retails for around US$1,300, depending on the processor and system configuration.

Samsung is counting on the Q1 Ultra to sell two or three times more units than the Q1, which has so far sold less than 100,000 units, Kim said. This is where the possibility of a second version comes in to play: lower costs could make the device appeal to more users, driving up sales.

Kim declined to comment further on the successor to the Q1 Ultra. Given the high-end specifications of the model announced this week, there are several areas where costs could be cut.

For starters, the device uses an ultra-low voltage processor from Intel Corp. that has not yet been announced, Kim said. Buying chips from a second supplier or using a different Intel chip could help reduce system costs. Indeed, some Q1 ultra-mobile PCs were based on a processor from Via Technologies Inc., which specializes in low-voltage processors that are generally cheaper than chips from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

In addition to considering a Q1 Ultra that is more affordable, Samsung is also planning to equip some Q1 Ultra units with its hybrid disk drive, which includes both a hard disk and flash memory. "We are planing to have this hybrid drive some day in the near future," Kim said.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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