Benq enters local laptop market

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Australia has a new laptop supplier – or does it? Acer spin-off Benq – just over one year old in Australia – has launched itself into the crowded laptop market but refused to refer to its Joybook line as laptop computers.

A “true digital lifestyle” device is the marketing spin Benq has placed on this product, the first in a series of laptops that Benq will launch throughout the rest of the year.

CRN has previewed the first cab off the rank, the Joybook 8000, due to ship at the end of March. Benq will target buyers that want the latest technology, such as graphic artists and enthusiasts that want to edit music, videos and photos, rather than mass market channels with this slick looking machine.

Benq will face some tough competition against established notebook players like Toshiba, HP and Dell. But Benq Australia marketing manager Kamil Gurgen claimed that the company won't try to compete against the mass market notebook players. Referring to the Joybook as a “niche” product, Gurgen said: “We're not trying to get into the notebook market and compete with the Toshibas and HPs of the world.” He added the company wouldn't market the line as a “work tool” rather it is a “lifestyle device.”

The 8000 features an Intel P4 1.8GHz processor (possibly 2+GHz in Australian configuration), an impressive 15.2 inch display and four USB ports, a Nvidia GeForce 4 32MB graphics card, 30GB Ultra ATA 100 hard drive and Combo DVD/CD-RW drive. “Anyone can make use of the excess screen space,” Gurgen said. On release, the machine will be wireless-enabled. Gurgen said the company is still undecided whether to use Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. Benq will release five Joybook models by the end of 2003. “We'll release one model each month in Q2, says Gurgen.

Gurgen said Benq had not yet made a decision about which distribution channels it will use for the Joybook line.

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