With the PC market expected to remain in tatters for 2009, niche-player Averatec will hope to make its mark in the popular netbook space.
CEO Tae-Hyun Cho believes Averatec’s history as a maker of low-cost ultra-portables perfectly positions the company for the netbook business.
“The netbook and ultra-portable lines are quite blurred and we want to bridge that gap,” he said.
The popularity of the inexpensive and low-powered netbooks also makes the category appealing to Averatec, particularly in light of the recession when consumers have to be very picky about what they buy. A recent report by Gartner expects netbooks to be the only growth area in the computer category in 2009.
Averatec’s plan is to release a next-generation netbook in the latter part of 2009 that incorporates a better industrial design and performance than current models, but at the same sub-$500 price point now carried by most models, Cho said.
These will be joined by a new batch of conventional notebooks, he added.
Averatec is also pushing ahead with its foray into the all-in-one computer space that it entered a few years ago.
Cho said the all-in-one category, while still a niche, is most likely the next evolutionary stop for the desktop. Averatec expects the all-in-one market to grow about 20 percent this year, but that will not be enough to stop the steady decline in overall desktop unit sales.
The company’s all-in-one strategy follows the same ideal of delivering performance at a value price point, Cho said. Averatec recently began shipping four new models priced between $549 and $899. These are selling in Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Samsclub.com, TigerDirect.com and Newegg.com.
These units are intended as second or even third family computers that can be placed almost anywhere in a home due to their small footprint, said Henry Hewitt, sales VP.
Because these computers could end up in front of a family’s guest, Averatec is taking care with the design so they will not detract from a living room or kitchen, Henry said.
“It is now all about design. Apple has proven that,” Hewitt said.