ASUSTeK, a leading pioneer in the netbook market, has recently confirmed that the project for its first smartbook system has been put on hold, as the company doesn't see a clear market for these mini-laptops. The news comes less than two months after the company raised hopes for such a device by displaying it at Computex Taipei in June. Smartbooks are designed as a more cost-effective alternative to current netbooks, being powered by Qualcomm's chips and running on the Google Android mobile platform.
According to a recent news-article on PCWorld, ASUSTeK CEO Jerry Shen said in a recent investors' conference in Taipei that, at the moment, he didn't see a clear market for smartbooks. The company said that one of the reasons why the smartbook project had been put aside was that it had to deal with limited engineering resources and that those resources were expected to be used in other areas.
The Taiwanese company could still roll out some ASUS-branded smartbooks, as it can rely on contract manufacturer Pegatron, which is one of its subsidiaries. During Computex, Pegatron showcased several smartbook designs, with estimated retail prices of about US$199. That's one of the main advantages of the smartbook design, compared to many netbooks on the market, which could go for around US$300 or US$400.
ASUS is no stranger to innovation, as the Taiwanese company was the first to unveil a new ultraportable computer system, which set the stage for a series of similar products from competitive companies. So far, ASUS has powered its netbooks only with Intel's microprocessors, combined with Microsoft's Windows operating system on the majority of them, but also with Linux OSes, on some models.
ASUS could potentially change its mind on the project, if competitors manage to market their own smartbook designs so as to draw the attention of the general public.