Yesterday during a conference call, Asustek CEO Jerry Shen mentioned that they were moving the Asus Eee PC line towards the 10″ range. As mentioned, it would lead to a slight increase in the average price of an Eee PC (since the majority would be the larger-sized 10″), but Asustek would not be increasing prices. Prices may even start to drop over time as Asustek is able to reduce their manufacturing costs.
PC World has more information about their plans for the Eee PC line. By moving the majority of models to the 10″ range, Asustek would be reducing the number of Eee PC netbooks/ultraportables that are available in the market, and they believe that will lower production costs, and more importantly, could go a long way towards reducing consumer confusion. Last year there were over 20 different Eee PC models launched, many of which had similar model numbers (1000, 1000H, 1000HA, 1000HD, etc.) while Acer had one model name, the 8.9″ Acer Aspire One (and even the new 10″ model still stuck with Acer Aspire One moniker).
It did not affect Acer in the least – they have apparently shipped more of the ultraportable devices than Asustek did in 2008, even while launching the Aspire One line much later than many Eee PC models. MSI was also fairly successful with their MSI Wind U100 line (there are a few variations now, but the U100 was still the main model for much of 2008).
The Acer Aspire One was also almost always mentioned as the netbook of choice when it came to best value (cheaper prices) for the money, and analysts believe that was a result of Acer keeping their ultraportable line simple. Even the new 10″ Aspire One very closely resembles the existing 8.9″ line, with most of the changes being improvements addressing complaints people had about the 8.9″ version (access to upgrading the RAM, the touchpad button placement, etc.).
Asustek definitely increased brand awareness with so many models, but at the same time, much of the target audience (people looking for a simple second computer) were confused by some of the naming schemes, especially when there were sales and promotions where some models with more features would drop down in price below similar models with fewer features.
Read: PC World