After spending the bulk of the last 20 years supplying computer components, Shuttle Computers will offer a line of PCs at retail.
The Shuttle XPC family will be available direct from the company starting on March 15, but Cameron Rogers, marketing director for the Taiwan-based firm, expects the products to be available eventually through several CE, PC and mass merchant retailers. Shuttle currently sells motherboards, computer cases and bare-bones PCs in Best Buy and Fry's Electronics.
"We figured that we're almost [selling PCs] anyway so we may as well go the whole way," Rogers said in explaining the company's logic to enter the PC field and compete against heavyweights Dell, HP and Gateway. Shuttle sold 500,000 kits in 2003.
Shuttle expects to fall into the computer market somewhere between the boutique gaming vendors such as AlienWare and VoodooPC and the mainstream PC providers. Rogers feels the combination of the company's' strong reputation among PC enthusiasts, unique industrial design and high-quality components will help it sell about 60,000 units during its first year on the market.
Shuttle will use a configure-to-order system for both its online and eventual retail sales operation, Rogers said. The initial introduction is centered on four basic SKUs ranging in price from $599 to $2,500.
The top-end system, geared toward gamers, uses a 3.4GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor and has a 200GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM a DVD+RW drive and an ATI Radeon 9800XT graphics card. A version with Microsoft's Windows Media Center Operating System is offered for $999.