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Notebook arena gets two more players

Two Taiwanese manufacturers will enter the burgeoning notebook PC market.

Two Taiwan-based computer makers will enter the notebook PC market with systems running as fast as 233 MHz later this year.

Asustek Computer and Shinlee Corp. are preparing to enter the notebook computer market, according to a report in the Commercial Times of Taiwan that was published by Nikkei Biztech.

Asustek, a major manufacturer of desktop PC motherboards, intends to start trial production of notebooks in the next few months. Shinlee, a company affiliated with Sony, will introduce notebook computers made by a partner in Taiwan, according to the report.

Asustek's new notebooks will feature Intel's upcoming 233-MHz Pentium with MMX for mobile computers and a 13.1-inch screen, according to the report. Priced from $4,000 to $5,000, the computers will also have a 2.1GB hard drive and a 20X CD-ROM drive.

The two companies are entering the notebook market when it is expecting heavy near-term growth. According to some estimates, global demand for notebook computers may exceed 14.4 million systems in 1997 and 20 million in 1999.

Shinlee is looking for a partner in Taiwan to produce notebook computers, with Sampo Technology a possible candidate, according to the report.