ASI back in laptops

Local assemblers are launching an assault on the last bastion of brand name dominance – the notebook market.

ASI Solutions will re-enter the notebook market next month with two new notebook designs for its key account and specialist dealers. The company showcased its latest product, the ASI Armata, at the launch of the Intel Centrino platform last week. It was the first official outing for the new product series, which will also include a Pentium 4 Mobile model, the ASI Zeil.

“It’s something we have just got to do,” product manager, Craig Quinn, said. “The style of working is changing and it’s not a compromise to have a notebook anymore. Notebooks have become a viable option for a bigger proportion of the market.”

Until recently, the notebook market has been largely the domain of multinational vendors. Now, local players are finding increasing success in this sector. Optima, for example, recently launched its notebooks into Dick Smith Electronics stores around Australia.

“It has been very successful,” managing director, Cornel Ung, told ARN. “We have been surprised by the sell through.” ASI’s Quinn said there were a number of reasons why the notebook market had been dominated by brands.

“I think it’s been quite a learning curve over the years in terms of the physical attributes, which is far more important for notebooks than desktops. These days there’s a much better understanding of the market and there are a lot of functional characteristics – things like the spread of USB – that have made the notebook more friendly.

“Until recently notebooks were really a niche market. That’s no longer the case. These days, 30 per cent of PC sales are portables.”

ASI Solutions has offered notebooks in the past, but the launch of Intel’s Centrino platform last week marked the company’s re-entry into the market.

"We were in the market a couple of years ago,” Quinn said. “We feel that now the time is right and it is important to have notebooks as part of our range.

“The better thermal characteristics of the (Pentium M) chip are quite exciting. It also means we can offer companies a stable platform between both our notebooks and selected desktop models. In the past it has been very difficult to do that and keep in step.”

ASI will offer the notebooks on a build-to-order basis to customers and dealers.

“We won’t be trying to move bucket loads of a particular configuration. That will give us the flexibility that a lot of tier-ones don’t enjoy.”

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