Asus plans to release e-reader, tablet

Asus plans to rival the Apple iPad tablet by releasing its own Eee Book e-reader and tablet PC sometime during Q3 or Q4 this year, the company recently announced.

During its Q4 investor conference, Asustek CEO Jerry Shen plans to work with book and magazine publishers while actively promoting the device — Amazon’s Kindle e-reader is the No. 1 selling e-reader, but is facing problems from book publishers who want e-book prices increased.

Shen’s decision to work with publishers — before even promoting and releasing an e-reader — is a wise move, especially since Amazon is expected to face more problems from publishers.

Expect Asus to officially launch the Eee Book e-reader during Computex in early June.

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Asus, now best known for its Eee line of netbooks, may also release a tablet device for consumers looking to leave behind PC’s and bulkier notebooks.  Qualcomm showed off an Asus Eee smartbook powered by the Google Android OS, but Asus wanted to wait until it was able to develop product further before bringing it to market.

The Google Chrome OS is expected to be a popular open source OS for tablets and netbooks, even though it has been relatively untested so far.

Sony has also announced plans to develop a tablet device to compete with the Apple iPad, with other manufacturers likely to make similar announcements in the coming months.  As expected from a major Apple announcement, competitors are now outlining future product launches designed to directly compete with Apple.

The actual demand for tablet devices is unknown. Even though tablets may have better battery life than some netbooks, many consumers appreciate more powerful hardware, despite higher battery consumption.