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X2 To Bow Its First PC, CE Devices During CES

12/20/2004 02:00:00 AM Eastern

X2 Corp. will introduce itself to the PC and CE retail world this winter with the launch of several product families, including Media Center PCs, notebook computers, portable multimedia players and flash-based MP3 players.

X2 will exhibit at CES at booth LVCC South 4-36525.

The company, which was formed as a joint venture with the Taiwanese technology firm MSI Computer, expects to have about 25 SKUs on store shelves by the end of the second quarter, said Rex Wong, X2's president. The company will play specifically in the digital convergence products market, he said, although the notebook computers under development are more traditional.

X2's upcoming computer offerings start with the Mega PC Media Center, launching late this month, along with the Super Thin notebook series. The media center has a TV tuner, 200GB hard drive and DVD burner, and an expected $999 suggested retail price. X2 will offer eight notebook models, including ultra thin and light models weighing less than 3 pounds with 12.1-inch displays, to full desktop replacement units featuring Pentium M processors. These are multimedia-centric, Wong said, by featuring DVD players that do not require the notebook to boot up in order to operate. This enables faster operation and saves battery power, he said. Pricing is not yet available.

The company's first product rolled out in mid-November, and the remainder will be available through various e-tail outlets by early January. Wong said the merchandise will sell through the “usual retail suspects” by the first or second quarter 2005.

Now available is the Mega View 561, a seven-in-one multimedia player. The 20GB device has a 3.5-inch screen and can store TV programming, movies, music and digital images, and it has an FM tuner. It connects directly to an A/V product through audio and video jacks. Since it uses Linux-based software and not Windows Media Player, it does not need a PC to operate. It is selling at about $400.

A follow-up version, the 566 with a 40GB hard drive and SD/MMC memory card slots, will ship in December.

Wong said X2 will focus its music player efforts on flash-based products, adding the Apple iPod simply has too tight a grip on the hard drive category, making it financially difficult to compete. The company's strategy has it selling its three lines of players in supermarkets and drug stores where Wong believes the lower priced models have the potential to sell well.

“These are untapped markets. We are calling it the non-researched impulse buy,” said Wong. The theory is that teens who are interested in a portable player, but unable to afford a hard drive model, will be attracted by the $49 starting price and either pick it up themselves or convince their parents to do so.

The players are divided in three lines: basic, sport and high end. Pricing starts at $49 for at 128MB device and tops out at $199. Memory capacities range from 128MB to 1GB.