Like with all the men once in the running to be the The Bachelorette’s new beau, it takes a lot right now to stand out in the mini-notebook market. How could it not? You have ASUS flooding the market with loads of Eee PCs, and MSI’s Wind is everything we could have wanted in a netbook for a seriously affordable price. But Taiwan-based companies like Gigabyte and ECS haven’t been deterred and are coming up with new, innovative ways to stay in the game. We spoke with ECS vice president of sales Henry Kwan who thinks his company’s G10IL entry will bring something new to the market. Kwan shared that the G10IL will:
Check out the full interview and image gallery below and stay tuned for our full review of the ECS G10IL, which we expect to receive in early August. You can read our hands-on from Computex here. LAPTOP: How does ECS view the mini-notebook/netbook market? How big of a market do you anticipate it being for ECS, considering that you also manufacturer the Intel Classmate PC? Henry Kwan: The success of the mini-notebook segment took lots of the Taiwanese PC manufacturers by surprise. ECS has been manufacturing the Classmate PC for little over two years, but we are seeing a lot more interest and demand in the last 6 to 8 months. For ECS, the mini-notebook market represents around 15 percent to 20 percent of our business (this includes Classmate, G10IL, and others). Where will the G10IL fit into the ECS product line? The G10IL is positioned as a cost-effective 3G embedded notebook for professionals. In Europe, lots of major wireless operators are working with ECS to bring this product to the market with that intention. In the U.S., embedded solutions are not as popular. Therefore, we are bringing the G10IL to the U.S. market as a mini-notebook with a 3G-embedded option. Will it come to market with the ECS brand? Or will other notebook distributors bring it to market? We are working with ODMs and distributors to bring this notebook to market. The notebook will be brought to the U.S. market under a different name than ECS G10IL. Will it be sold in the U.S. without 3G options? Would you work with carriers here? Yes, we will sell the system in the U.S. without a mobile broadband option. In Europe it will be sold through carriers in some cases, but that is doubtful in the U.S. Most likely, a reseller will sell the notebook bundled with an embedded connection card that can be activated. When will you begin production on the systems? ECS will start production in mid-August of this year. What will the initial prices of the systems be in the U.S.? Any idea of retail channels? ECS is currently working with distributors, ODM and retail customers to bring G10IL to U.S. market. The specs aren’t set in stone yet but we will have the option of a 8.9-inch or 10.2-inch screen. It will run Intel Atom’s processor, there will be a 1GB or 2GB RAM options, and there will be a hard drive and SSD option. We expect to include a six-cell battery that will get 5 hours of battery life. The system will be offered from $399 and up, not including the 3G solution. Which operating systems will the ECS G10IL come to market with? What flavor of Linux will it run? We will offer the ECS G10IL with Windows XP and Linux. The ECS G10IL with hard drives will support WIndows XP and the SSD option will support the Linpus Lite 9.4 version of Linux. What type of mobile broadband networks will it support? It will have a module that can support EDGE, HSUPA, and HSPDA networks. In Europe, many wireless operators are having business discussion with ECS over the G10IL. In the U.S., we are just starting to bring the product in, and I am sure we will have business discussion with them on the G10IL. What colors will the system come in? White will be available by August and black will come at later time. Lots of mini-notebooks are being released in the U.S., including the MSI Wind and a new line of ASUS Eee PCs. How will the G10IL stand out to consumers? Our attractive ID design, competitive pricing, and 3G capability are features that will set the G10IL apart from the competition. Do you anticipate that the ECS G10IL will be a big success? The G10IL is already a big success. In Europe, China, and Latin America, customers are waiting for its arrival, and we even received the GSMA Award. ECS does not want to offer another “Me Too” product. It is a little late to market, but we know we are offering something different, something more.