A Google Android-powered, 10-inch tablet device will be launched by Asus Computer in March 2011 for under $399, CEO Jerry Shen said after a conference to discuss the company's second quarter earnings last Friday. The Android model is just one of several tablet devices coming from the computer maker in the next several months.
Another tablet device that will have a 12-inch touchscreen and cost around $1,000 will launch in December or January, Shen said. That device will be more expensive because it will be able to turn into a laptop computer when hooked up to a docking station that will come with the tablet, Shen said. It will be known as the Eee Pad EP121, and will run Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium operating system with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Shen said Asus is focusing on offering more features in order to compete against Apple's hugely successful iPad since price alone won't attract consumers. He said they are concentrating on perfecting the Eee Pad before launching it.
A third Microsoft device will be known as the EP101TC and will also be a 10-inch tablet, but it will run on Windows Embedded Compact 7 operating system with an ARM CPU processor and 64 GB of storage. It will be priced between $399 and $499, and make its debut in January, Shen said. The latter two devices were displayed at Computex in June.
Asus will also offer an Eee tablet e-reader priced at $300 that will run on Linux, reportedly in October.
A team of over 800 software engineers are currently at work on Android, but primarily for the smartphone division, Shen said, however, some will be moved to the tablet product division.
Computer manufacturers have been rushing to launch rivals to the iPad, which starts at $499 for the 16GB version, which has the smallest amount of storage.