Asus announced it plans to launch a tablet next March that will be powered using the open source Google Android operating system, company CEO Jerry Shen told reporters.
Another Asus 12-inch touchscreen tablet will be released this December with a starting price tag of $1,000, Chen also noted, showing his company’s dedication to portable products. The more expensive model, dubbed the Asus Eee Pad EP121, includes an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and runs Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium.
The device is more expensive because it has a docking station that is used to help “transform” the 12-inch tablet into a traditional notebook.
“If you want to compete with the iPad, you have to do more than just be less expensive,” Chen noted during a financial earnings call. “You have to offer more features. We want to spend more time perfecting the [Eee Pad] before we launch. We’re looking more at Q1 to launch the devices.”
In January, Asus plans to launch a smaller 10-model that will use an ARM processor and cost between $399 and $499, shipping with Microsoft Windows Embedded Compact 7 OS.
The device will find its way to CES 2011 and other major trade shows before launch, so I’m anxious to hear how it stacks up against the iPad and other tablets in the same price range.
An Asus Android tablet is planned for a March 2011 release, with a price-point less than $399.
I understand the tablet market is steadily growing, but I wonder if Asus will be too late to market with this lower-priced tablet. In June, the company announced a Windows 7 tablet that includes Adobe Flash and decent hardware specifications. However, I’m skeptical if a $399-$499 offering seven months down the road will be sufficient to keep consumers interested with so many rivals.
Asus was one of the leading companies to help kickstart the netbook craze, and the company will continue marketing products in both device categories. Late last month, Asus announced two new netbooks that are designed for a niche market — showing the company has a focus on products today and in the future.