Asus Headquarters Tour (pics)

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Last week I was invited to a conference at Asus Headquarters in California. Getting to meet the people behind the Asus name and getting the chance to tour their facility, was an enjoyable experience. Not only did I get to see the products that have already been on the market, but they also had some upcoming gadgets on display.

The G1 and G2 notebooks have been a popular seller for Asus. (view large image)

Asus is going to continue pushing the G1 notebook into Best Buy stores and told me that soon more Best Buy’s will be carrying the G1. They also stated that they have been negotiating with Best Buy to start carrying other Asus models, no word on which models though.

They are also proud of how successful the R1 and R2 have been. In fact in the near future we will see newer editions of both models. No comment though on when we will see these newer models, but I think the updated R1 is already in progress and remember that was Asus’s first Tablet PC.

Their main focus right now is on the upcoming C90 customizable notebook. In fact, Jonney Shih, Chairman & CEO of ASUSTek, Jerry Shen, President of ASUSTek, Ivan Ho, President of Asus Computer International and Bryan Chang, AOOP Senior Technical Staff, were very excited about their upcoming line of notebooks built on the Intel Conroe platform. These notebooks will beat the Santa Rosa release and according to them will be more powerful and cheaper.

The C90 customizable notebook, to be released in early May. (view large image)

Asus has been making strides in gaining popularity in the U.S. market. They are already very well know in the European and Asia-Pacific markets. Overall the company has grown 45% from 2005 to 2006, with their notebook line accounting for 29% of their revenue. The company’s motto is "Asus Open Optimum Platform" solution or AOOP, which stands for all aspects of technology being open sourced and combining to be one. Slowly desktop technology will combine with notebook technology and then they both will combine with mobile technology creating one ultimate.

The upcoming U1, the S6 shown in limited edition pink leather, the W5 and the Lamborghini VX2. (view large image)

I had the chance to have a little hands-on with the upcoming U1 notebook. This ultra-portable notebook doesn’t weigh anything and has a solid chassis. It also sports the glossy piano black finish and has black leather around the keyboard, which creates quite a nice design. It definitely would be good for traveling and it has that professional appearance. It has an Intel Core Duo processor and up to a 80GB hard drive, no word on when they will be for sale or how much they will cost, but the full spec sheet can be found on the Asus website.

The U1. (view large image)

Top view of the U1. (view large image)

Right side view of the U1. (view large image)

Left side view of the U1. (view large image)

Asus’s motherboards account for 16% of their revenue, so they had a nice display of them as well. They also had other components like thermal solutions and desktop computers on display.

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Besides what they are well known for (notebooks, desktops and motherboards) they had other devices on display, which will be released in the coming months. It seems Asus is going to test the waters in other market areas as well. They already have a good lead in the cellular phone market coming in above Motorola and Samsung, so I guess we will have to wait and see how these products fare.

The Asus AiGuru S2 Skype phone. (view large image)

The Asus S102 Multimedia Navigator. (view large image)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the upcoming notebooks that are scheduled to be released throughout this year, but I do have a road-map of what will be coming and when. As you can imagine they were very hush-hush on these new models, so there isn’t much in terms of specs either.

First to be released is the C90, which comes out in May. Shortly following the C90 is the C91, which is due out in June and is built on the same platform as the C90, but is less bulky. Then due out in July is the smaller C30 series, which will have 13.3" screens instead of the 15.4" screens like on the C90 series, but it still will have the Conroe processor. Closer to Christmas season in November we will see the C80 series, which will have a 17" screen and be marketed as a desktop replacement notebook. Finally at the beginning of 2008, Asus will have the 19" C70 series, which like the C80 will have X38, Crossfire and DDR3. Keep your eyes peeled because Asus is going to be releasing something for every user this year.




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