Asus: notebooks head to Walmart & Staples, Android 4.0 tablet debuts

Following a down quarter for the PC market, Asus is looking to turn things around – at least for itself. According to President Steven Chang, the company will increase its U.S. notebook shipments this year by 30 percent.

Asus: notebooks head to Walmart & Staples, Android 4.0 tablet debuts

The boost can be chalked up to a new partnership between the computer maker and domestic chains Walmart and Staples that goes into effect this year, reported DigiTimes. The two American giants join Best Buy and Office Depot, which previously enjoyed the distinction of being the Taiwan-based company’s only retail channel partners.

But will consumers be there? Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa noted that weak demand led to a 1.4 percent overall drop in shipment figures for desktops and notebooks PCs during the fourth quarter. However, research firm IHS predicted a big surge in notebook shipments is coming thanks in part to tablets’ current status as a “luxury item.”

Speaking of luxury items, Asus demoed an (take a breath) Android Ice Cream Sandwich-powered Eee Pad Transformer Prime at CES this week. The Tegra 3 quad-core device, which can be used like a regular tablet or attached to an accompanying keyboard, showcased the new Android OS’ bells and whistles, including new organization options and fast-swapping mobile and desktop viewing.

The Eee Pad Transformer Prime hit stores last month for $499.