Although late to the game in the small-form-factor (SFF) PC segment, Albatron believes the experience it gains in the SFF PC segment this year will help it become a key vendor once the market transitions to the pico-BTX form factor starting next year, according to the company.
Albatron announced its first SFF PC, the ABox, last November and just started shipping the product earlier this year. The company is currently targeting the Japan and Australia markets with the Abox.
The Intel 865G based-ABox has most of the standard features expected from a SFF PC, including a cube design, several front access ports, and an AGP and PCI slot. Albatron did add some features to the system that it believes will help differentiate the product from other SFF products, including a 40-pin connector for connecting all front panel ports to the motherboard at once. Albatron also added more connectivity features, such as a mini-PCI slot and a USB connector, for connecting the company’s Albalink wireless module. The system also features a specially designed fan/heatpipe solution for minimizing noise.
Although the product is quite vanilla, Albatron claims that it has entered the SFF market mostly to get its toes wet as a system maker while it gears up for production of pico-BTX products. Because Albatron is a young company, it entered the motherboard and graphics card business as a latecomer. The company now feels that the PC industry will soon be transitioning to BTX products, and it is optimistic that is will be able to be a key competitor in the pico-BTX market from the start, once the market transitions.
Albatron stated that it is hoping to produce it first pico-BTX solution by the fourth quarter of this year, but admitted that the mainstream market may not transition to BTX solutions until next year. Although BTX solutions are eventually supposed to less expensive to produce than current systems, the market is not yet developed and the overall price is still too high.
Another source in the market recently estimated that BTX motherboards will only account for about 5% of global shipments by the end of this year, well behind Intel's expectations, while SFF market leader Shuttle also forecast that demand for BTX (Balanced Technology Extended) systems will not pick up until next year.
Albatron ABox SFF PC