Asustek to launch low-cost PCs this year

Asustek plans to launch a series of low-cost PCs later this year, but declined to confirm reports the PCs would be based on an Intel design.

Asustek Computer Inc. plans to launch a series of low-cost PCs later this year aimed at developing nations, a company representative confirmed on Monday.

The PCs will be introduced in the second half of this year, Asustek representative Beck Lee said.

He would not comment on reports in the Chinese-language Commercial Times newspaper that the PCs would be based on Intel Corp.'s Classmate PC platform, which is aimed at developing nations. The platform consists of a low-cost PC design and supporting chips, including specs that would connect the PCs to the Internet wirelessly.

Asustek plans to launch five of the low-priced PCs in the second half of this year, priced at US$199, $249, $299, $399 and $549, respectively, according to the Commercial Times. Asustek declined to provide any additional information.

Several companies are hope to tap into the global market for low-cost PCs. The idea comes from the non-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, which is led by Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of OLPC and a cofounder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Laboratory. The project aims to develop a laptop computer that costs just US$100 for use by students in developing countries.

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