BenQ brings Joybooks to Canada before U.S.

Taipei, Taiwan — BenQ will begin shipping its newly created line of Joybooks, an Intel Centrino-based notebook for business and entertainment, to the Canadian market sometime before the end of 2003.

K.Y. Lee, chairman and CEO

of BenQ, said in an interview a day prior to the Computex show here that the size of Canadian marketplace is a good starting point for launching the Joybook in North America.

“”The U.S. is a much larger market. We need more time to prepare for that market. I do not want to launch it too early there. We need to be ready. With Canada’s size it is more reasonable for us to carry it in Canada first,”” Lee said.

Expect the BenQ Joybook to be south of the border some time in early 2004, he added.

The company has already started shipping the Joybook in Asia Pacific and Europe. The notebook comes bundled with Q-media, BenQ’s own multimedia operating system and can link display devices such as mobile phones, PCs, digital cameras, recordable CD disk drives, and MP3 players to edit, store, transfer and share data in both wired and wireless environments.

BenQ, formerly Acer Peripherals, joins an already crowded notebook space with IBM, HP, Sony, Toshiba, Acer, Fujitsu and many other whitebook system builders peddling products in Canada.

According to Lee, BenQ as a peripherals manufacturer saw the difficulty users had in integrating peripherals, both hardware devices and software drivers, into notebooks.

“”We have so many products surrounding the computer,”” Lee said. “”People need something to connect all these multimedia peripheral devices together. We needed something that could help integrate this networking environment.””

Being a peripherals manufacturer first it will help to differentiate BenQ’s Joybook against other competitors in the market, Lee said. He cited BenQ’s LCD display technology as an example.

“”We believe, in the future, all notebooks will have functions that integrate video capabilities and wireless technologies. So we optimized our products to support those features,”” Lee said.

The Joybook will come with an LCD screen that can handle DVD motion pictures. Compared to other notebooks, which have screens for email, word and spreadsheet uses, he said.

In the Asian market, Lee said customers do not distinguish business notebooks from home entertainment notebooks.

“”Customers here use the computer for business, but when they travel they also use it for entertainment. In Asia people do not make a distinction between business and entertainment. So we believe notebooks should be focused more on entertainment in the future,”” he said.

A tablet PC will not be part of the company’s Joybook product lineup, however. Lee said current tablet PC solutions are too heavy and have power consumption problems.

BenQ will be adding more specific channel programs for its Qreseller umbrella program in upcoming months. Lee said BenQ is still developing its channel strategy for the launch of its Joybook in North America.

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