The Shuttle U.S. website has a teaser up for Shuttle's latest move with its popular XPC line: complete, ready-to-use PCs sold directly by Shuttle. The picture also shows that the rumors about Shuttle-branded LCD monitors are true, and these eminently portable displays come with stylish carry handles. The site says "Grand opening in April," referring to when it will become a place to purchase built-to-order XPC systems.
Shuttle's big ambitions for these little PCs extend beyond online sales into retail channels at stores like Fry's and Best Buy, where Shuttle-branded XPC systems should become available soon, as well. The company will offer a variety of systems based on its latest XPC mini-barebones products.
Although Shuttle has enjoyed great sales success with these toaster-sized boxes, the move into complete systems is a surprising one. Competing with the likes of Dell and HP is brutal work, and so far, almost no Taiwanese company has established itself as a major consumer brand in North America, despite Taiwan's obvious manufacturing prowess. We'll have to watch and see if Shuttle can muster the marketing resources, build the support infrastructure, and maintain the distincitiveness of its products long enough to compete well as a PC vendor. For starters, at least, Shuttle's quality motherboards and infectious little case designs should give the company a decent head start. That start will likely come at the expense (at least in part) of existing XPC resellers, many of whom offer built-to-order XPC systems today.
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