Top global PC monitor maker TPV Technology on Wednesday said it is developing a low-cost, all-in-one desktop PC optimized for the Internet, in a bid to replicate the success of low-cost portable PCs known as netbooks.
The gambit is an important one for TPV, as it looks for new revenue streams to maintain growth as its core desktop monitor business slows with the broader consumer move toward portable notebook PCs.
The new models, which TPV has tentatively dubbed nettops will combine a computer with a monitor in a single unit, similar to Apple's iMac and other products on the market.
But unlike most of those products, which typically cost more than $1,000 each, nettops would sell for $400 to $600, said Jason Hsuan, TPV's chairman and chief executive. Models could eventually retail for as little as $300, he added.
TPV is working with smaller PC makers to develop the PCs, although Hsuan declined to name any.
The computers, with screens of around 20 inches, were set to hit stores in the third or fourth quarter, he said.
After two to three years, they will become a driving force for our future growth, Hsuan said at a media event to discuss his company's first-quarter results.
TPV put its global market share for PC monitors at 27.4 percent in the first quarter, ahead of No.2 Innolux Display at 21.2 percent and No.3 Samsung Electronics at 15.6 percent.
However, TVP projected global monitor sales to drop 8 percent this year from 2008, and then drop slightly again next year as the market matures and more people opt for slimmer, increasingly affordable notebook computers.
Portable PC sales are expected to overtake sales of desktop models for the first time this year, as more buyers choose the more versatile models whose prices have dropped steeply with the advent of low-cost netbooks.
Since their introduction by Taiwan's Asustek in 2007, most of the world's major PC makers, including Acer, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard, have joined the netbook trend, even as some worry that the cheaper portable PCs could cannibalize business from more expensive laptops.
Asustek has also introduced a low-cost, all-in-one desktop PC called the Eee Top, with a suggested price of $550, that has been less fast to take off.
(Additional reporting by Joanne Chiu; Editing by Chris Lewis)