Netbooks, broadband mobile centre stage in Taipei trade fair

Jun 02, 2009 by Benjamin Yeh
A woman displays a latest Acer UX-30 notebook at Computex Taipei, Asia's biggest information technology trade show, June 2. The show opened on Tuesday, with the spotlight on low-priced notebook computers and advanced broadband Internet mobile technology.

Asia's biggest information technology trade show opened in Taiwan Tuesday, with the spotlight on low-priced notebook computers and advanced broadband Internet mobile technology.

The event was given extra significance this year by the participation of 36 Chinese exhibitors in the Computex Taipei, the first time since its launch 29 years ago.

Their participation has been made possible by the rapid improvement in ties between Taiwan and its former bitter rival China since President Ma Ying-jeou came to power on the island in May last year.

The five-day event will also enable Taiwanese PC companies to grab the spotlight ahead of competitors as they showcase their new "netbook" models -- laptops designed primarily for web browsing and emailing.

With many netbooks weighing less than a kilogram (2.2 pounds) and costing as little as 250 US dollars, the crowded market is heating up as the cheaper products gain traction over higher priced computers in the economic downturn.

Worldwide demand for netbooks is expected to more than double this year to 32 million units from 13 million units last year.

Asustek Computer Inc, known for its popular "Eee PC" family launched in 2007, demonstrated its latest items shortly after the opening of the exhibition.

Equipped with a 10-inch (25 cm) display, Asustek's Eee PC Seashell 1008HA touts a 18 mm profile and weighs only 1.1 kilograms (2.42 pounds), making it easy to carry. Its battery lasts up to six hours.

Asustek's rival Acer Inc, the world's number two PC vendor behind Hewlett-Packard, meanwhile unveiled its first Aspire One netbook featuring the partly Google-developed Android operating system and faster Internet speeds.

Analysts say Taiwanese computer makers are expected to take a 60 percent share of the global netbook market in 2009.

However, they will do so in a year when the overall information communication technology industry is forecast to contract by nine percentage points, according to Taiwan's private think tank Topology Research Institute.

"The emergence of the netbook... brings new growth opportunities to matured markets," it said in a recent report.

The other big talking point of the trade fair was the cutting-edge mobile broadband technology WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access).

Offering a higher data capacity, it operates across greater distances and allows for voice, video, Internet and other mobile services.

Starting from Tuesday, the technology will begin testing on a train running on Taipei's metro rail network for a year, offering real-time image transmission services to commuters.

"Perhaps there are still flaws with the technology (but) it is becoming commercially viable after years of development," said Lin Chih-ching of the Taipei Computer Association.

Potential WiMAX operators in Taiwan say that for a monthly fee of 800 Taiwan dollars (25 US dollars) mobile phone users can make calls, play online games, browse the Internet and watch high quality television.

One local operator has already started to provide a WiMAX service while five other Taiwanese companies, including Far East Tone and Global Mobile, have been licensed by the government to launch competing services.

Organisers said more than 1,700 exhibitors have 4,500 booths for the five-day fair, which is expected to greet around 100,000 visitors, including 35,000 international buyers.

The fair last year generated around 20 billion US dollars in business, they said.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Oculus Rift users to see Moon live through robot

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In Brief: WiMax demand expected to surge

Jun 29, 2006

WiMax, or worldwide interoperability for microwave access, will become increasingly popular especially when it becomes more mobile, a research group said.

Samsung to Showcase Mobile Broadband 4G Technology

Dec 04, 2006

Samsung Electronics is putting on an ambitious showcase of its latest telecommunication technologies at the ITU Telecom World 2006 being held in Hong Kong , China from December 4 to 8.

Gradual gains seen in netbooks, Bernstein says

Jan 21, 2009

The market for ultraportable laptop computers, also known as netbooks, is seen as having some of the best potential for the PC market, but is not likely to overwhelm the sector soon, according to a recent report.

Sprint And Intel To Explore WiMAX Broadband Technologies

May 05, 2005

Sprint and Intel Corporation today announced an agreement to engage in joint efforts to advance the development of IEEE standards-based 802.16e WiMAX mobile technology, which can provide high capacity wireless broadband cove ...

Recommended for you

Magic Leap moves beyond older lines of VR

12 hours ago

Two messages from Magic Leap: Most of us know that a world with dragons and unicorns, elves and fairies is just a better world. The other message: Technology can be mindboggingly awesome. When the two ...

Oculus Rift users to see Moon live through robot

Oct 23, 2014

A group from Carnegie Mellon wants to send a robot to the Moon to beam live pictures of the Moon to Oculus Rift headset users, reported technology reporter Jane Wakefield of the BBC. Andy the robot is intended ...

Skin icons can tap into promise of smartwatch

Oct 21, 2014

You have heard it before: smartwatches are cool wearables but critics remind us of the fact that their small size makes many actions cumbersome and they question how many people will really have them on their ...

User comments : 0