Asus Eee Pad set for debut at Computex with retail release in July
Considering first the rumors, then the speculation of hardware, followed by the debut of a prototype at CES and the recent disclosure of its plans for the tablet market, it sure seems as though Asus likes to stay in the headlines as it builds up hype for its upcoming Eee Pad tablet MID. The latest development comes from CEO Jerry Shen, who has just confirmed an earlier rumor by announcing at a conference in Taiwan that the Eee Pad will be revealed at Computex 2010 at the beginning of June. Asus plans to finally launch the Tegra 250-powered device to retail in the third quarter of 2010, which sources from component manufacturers verify as late July.
DigiTimes also details how in order to compete in the crowded tablet market and with the iPad, Asus has improved the design of the Eee Pad, worked closely with Google to adapt Android to it, and incorporated features missing from the iPad including USB OTG, an integrated webcam, and notably, support for Adobe Flash. Sources indicate that the Eee Pad will cost between NT$15,000 to 16,000 in Taiwan subsidized by a carrier with a data plan. This works out to be between $479 to $510, which is more than expected, but I would wait to see international prices when it launches globally before drawing any conclusions.
Interestingly, where the company had previously stated it believes there is room in the market for tablets between smartphones and netbooks, Chairman Jonney Shih has now expressed a different opinion, saying he projects tablets to reduce demand for netbooks by 10 to 20%. The company's projected shipments of the Eee Pad for the year is 300,000 units. In a related development, fellow PC maker MSI has also announced its intention to launch a tablet in the third quarter called the "M Pad."
I'm looking forward to seeing exactly what Asus have in store for us; the combination of an Android tablet with Tegra 250 processing power for a decent price is exciting. I'm also very curious about the revised design and customized Android interface, not to mention lingering questions regarding the version of Android it will be running, Android Market access, and of course, the final price.