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Tablet Vendors Preview CES Launches

Lesser known manufacturers, including ECS, MSI, Indamixx, and Asus, offer sneak peeks at the products they'll put up against HP, Motorola, and other well-known brands in January.
Indamixx 2 Music Tablet
Indamixx 2 Music Tablet
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In a modern day version of David vs. Goliath, next month's CES will showcase a slew of lesser-known tablet PCs from makers like Indamixx, ECS, and MSI, going up against products from leading vendors, including HP and Motorola.

Already for sale is the multi-touch Indamixx 2 Beta slate built around the Transmission 5.0 OS (MeeGo), which is being marketed as a music-oriented tablet. It comes with Intel's single core 1.66-GHz Atom N450 CPU, 2 GB of RAM, a 160-GB hard drive, three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA output, Ethernet socket, and analog input/output jacks. It retails for $699. Another version of the slate with a dual boot into Windows 7 retails for $779.

Asus is teasing details of its 12-inch Eee Pad EP 121 Windows 7-powered tablet, geared at enterprise customers, along with two other 10-inch Eee pads targeted for consumers. One will run Windows 7 on Oak Trail chips and the other will be Android-based on Nvidia's Tegra 2 chips. They will retail at $499 and $599, respectively, and are expected to be released in March 2011. The enterprise EP 121 will have a high-performance Intel core i5 CPU, an HDMI-out jack, at least one USB port, and a webcam. It will have "expandable and replaceable storage options" and a multi-touch display, and will debut at CES, according to a video Asus released.

ECS (Elitegroup Computer System) is planning to showcase both Windows 7 and Android-based tablets at CES, with some versions featuring Intel Atom CPUs inside their 10.1-inch multi-touch panels. Others will have ARM-based processors from Marvell or Samsung Electronics with eight hours of battery life and be equipped with wireless modules. ECS is also expected to unveil 7-inch models at CES, according to Digitimes.

ECS will also add to its Marvell chip-based 9.7-inch e-book reader line with 6-inch and 8-inch models and another 9.7-inch device, all of which will have capacitive touch screens and run on Android and Linux operating systems. The devices will reportedly have built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G, and have document and music file formats.

Also at CES, MSI (Micro-Star International) is preparing to launch its 10-inch Wintel-based tablet device and samples of its Android model based on ARM. The company is also planning an Nvidia Tegra 2-based model for sale in April or May, Digitimes reported.

In other tablet news, a report surfaced that HP is planning to introduce at CES three PalmPad tablet models running on WebOS. And Motorola has also put out a teaser video for a tablet that will be announced at CES, running on the next version of Google's operating system, Android 3.0 Honeycomb.