Asus will hit e-pad market this year
The iPad? That's the big iPhone, yeah?
Asus is working on multiple e-pad type devices which it hopes will exploit the shortcomings of Apple's iPad when they hit the market this year.
Eric Chen, corporate vice president systems business group at the Taiwanese portables specialist, told El Reg that many people had described Apple's product du jour as "one big screen iPhone."
He said that Apple was one of the "most respected companies," but he didn't think that the iPad would necessarily be the dominant product the iPhone had become.
"This is something we can improve," he claimed. "We will have similar products. We have a couple of projects under way."
Chen refused to detail exactly what weak points he thought Asus could capitalise on. But he said he expected that the firm would target different models at different applications and business and channel models: "We need to respect customers choices."
Obvious markets might be the logistics or medical or pharmaceutical industry, he said, but this was something Asus could not tackle on its own. Rather it would make sense to partner with apps vendors in such markets: "It's a solution space."
What was clear, he said, was that the company planned to capitalise on the buzz created by Apple with its own iPad debut - whatever the product's shortcomings - and to hit the market with an Asus e-pad (or whatever the firm chooses to call its product) within the year.
"It should be this year, that makes sense," said Chen. "Over a year and people forget." ®
That the first company to make one that will servive in a factory and run some form of SAP or Orical interface, made to work with touch inputs and a bar code reader attached will sell a minimum of 1 metric fuckton of them.
I think the problems with existing tablet PCs were weight, battery, and an OS that was totally tailored towards a keyboard and a mouse.
Anyway, the notion that tablets will be forgotten next year seems a bit strange. Many people are already quite happy with smartphones for most of their computing/online needs and something like a smartphone or a PDA with a large screen makes a lot of sense to them. Having a full PC squeezed into a tablet with no keyboard may be the right thing for others but those just might be better off with a netbook indeed.
I think "real" tablets will either be simple ebook-readers or something like big smartphones running Android (or the iPhone OS). A tablet running Windows 7 is not much more than a netbook with no keyboard and has all the disadvantages of a PC with the added disadvantage of a missing keyboard.
That all assumes tablets are a good thing!
If I recall, one of the biggest problems with tablet uptake was the 'ergonomics' of use i.e. how do you hold them to use them. Holding with one hand means you only have one hand to drive ... so then you palce them flat on a surface and have a non-optimal viweing angle ... so then you prop them up ... etc. And once you no longer treat them as 'light and easy to hold' but place / prop them up on surfaces to type - then you may as well have a proper keyboard and seperate screen.
I am sure the iPad will sell to the fanbois who pre-order and those with money for a 'gadget', but why Asus thinks that the shortcomings (assume: camera, multitasking, lack of open connectivity like USB, expandable storage etc.) will address this fundamental issue is beyond me ...
Do Asus make a phone?
If so, the Spaniards would regard it as the 'Asus phone"!
Apple, prepare your lawyers.