Sales of Asus' Eee PC will double to around 10 million units next year on strong demand from Europe and Asia, a company executive said on Monday.
The bold prediction comes amid growing competition in the low-cost laptop segment. Many new rivals to the Eee PC will be on display this week at Computex Taipei 2008, including Elitegroup Computer Systems' G10IL, which can access the internet via mobile phone networks, MSI's Wind, a low-cost laptop with a 10in screen, and a promise from Acer for its own low-cost laptop.
Growing demand for low-cost laptops overall will help Asus meet its goal, said Jerry Shen, CEO of Asustek, in a news conference. Global shipments of low-cost laptops should hit 20 million to 30 million units next year, he predicted.
Demand for low-cost laptops is strong across Europe and the Asia Pacific, while developing markets such as India will also likely increase uptake of such devices, Shen said.
Asustek has not seen the arrival of low-cost laptops have much impact on the market for regular laptops.
"Maybe a very little bit, but not much. They are different products," said Shen.
Most people prefer the mainstream screen size in a laptop, 15 inches, while low-cost laptops with screens 7 to 10 inches across the diagonal are a different product, a second purchase, he said. Around 50 percent of the global laptop computer market is for devices with 15-inch screens, said Shen, while 17-inch screens account for around 20 percent of the market. People primarily still want a full computing experience out of a laptop, he said.