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Digitimes Research: Asustek detachable devices face size hurdle

Jim Hsiao, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0

Asustek Computer's Windows-based detachable T100, which was developed in close cooperation with Microsoft and Intel and released in the third quarter of 2013, has successfully attracted price-conscious consumers due to its friendly pricing and free Office software. Asustek shipped almost two million T100s prior to the end of the first half of 2014.

With the success, Asustek is expected to continue expanding the product line to increase its presence in the market and try to become the market leader in the second half. However, Digitimes Research believes Windows-based detachable devices' inherent size limitations and competitions from other vendors' 2-in-1 consumer devices and inexpensive notebooks will slow the T series' growth in the second half.

Digitimes Research expects Asustek's new T200, which will be released by the end of the third quarter, to only have shipments of 20,000-30,000 units per month, while the shipments of the company's new 8.9-inch model to be released in the fourth quarter will also be far lower than those of the T100.

The T100 achieved an excellent balance in size, form factor and price, successfully attracting price-sensitive consumers who need both notebooks and tablets. However, to expand the product line by releasing large- or small-size version of the product is expected to face some issues.

First, to make a large-size version will increase costs from the touch module and the panel, resulting in increases in the product's retail pricing. In addition, detachable tablets with over 10-inch displays will have features very similar to conventional notebooks and Microsoft is unlikely to provide subsidies, such as licensing fees or free Office, for such products, which might hurt conventional notebooks' sales. As a result, the large-size detachable products will lose its attractiveness in pricing.

Digitimes Research estimates that Asustek's 11.6-inch T200 will see monthly shipments of only one tenth of those of the 10-inch T100.

As for making a small-size version, poor user experience caused by small product sizes could impact consumer demand. In the past, demand for netbooks with below 10-inch displays was usually weak, while Lenovo's recent plan of quitting the 8-inch Windows-based tablet market in the US also has proved that small-size Windows-based products are difficultly to sell because their small sizes provide limited Windows conventional control interfaces. Small-size detachable tablets will also feature small keyboards, which are unpopular with users.

Digitimes Research expects Asustek to release an 8.9-inch detachable model in the fourth quarter with its shipment volume coming in between those of the T100 and T200.

Content from this article was part of a complete Digitimes Research Chinese-language report that has not yet been translated into English. If you are interested in an English version of the report or wish to receive more information about the report, click here to contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Digitimes Research also provides quarterly tracking services for market sectors such as China Smartphone, China Smartphone AP, Taiwan ICT and Taiwan FPD. Click here for more information about Digitimes Research Tracking services.

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