Netbook pioneer to stick with Windows in 2009

Asustek sees the first quarter of 2010 as a better opportunity for non-Windows OSs, such as Android, in netbooks

Asustek Computer (Asus) plans to continue using Microsoft Windows OSs in its popular Eee PC netbooks this year despite widespread interest in alternatives such as Google's Android software.

"Windows is what most consumers are used to," said Jerry Shen, CEO of Asus, during an investors conference on Thursday in Taipei.

The first quarter of next year will provide "more of an opportunity" for rival software, he said, as well as alternative chips.

Asus, which pioneered the netbook market, will also avoid using microprocessors such as the ARM cores in Qualcomm's Snapdragon mobile phone chips this year, he said.

The company plans to stick with PC industry chips, known as x86-based microprocessors. Shen said x86 chips are more attractive for netbooks for several reasons, including the wealth of software made to work on the microprocessors.

Microprocessors originally designed for mobile phones, such as the ARM processors, have different advantages. Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips, for example, are very inexpensive, Shen said.

Netbooks designed around Snapdragon chipsets and the mobile OSs that run on them are better for Internet, multimedia and 3G applications, he said.

Android runs on microprocessors such as those made by ARM.

Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and Via Technologies all make x86-based microprocessors. Asustek has only sold netbooks that have Intel chips up to now.

The company said it sold 900,000 netbooks in the first quarter, and projected it will sell at least one million in the second quarter.

Asustek came in second last year in netbook shipments, trailing rival Acer by a small margin.

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Dan Nystedt

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