updated 03:40 pm EST, Fri January 22, 2010
ASUS chief believes PCs will get more personal
ASUS chairman Jonney Shih revealed the future plans of the company in a recent interview, predicting that the pioneer of the netbook category will continue with its success. Among the revelations to Silicon was that the company is developing slate PCs meant for multimedia consumption and web use, but is holding off from releasing them as Shih feels content needs to be more readily accessible before the devices can be successful. This includes more e-book stores, music, videos and games created just for the devices.
"Content is still not attractive enough today to the customer," Shih said. "We have those kind[s] of devices in our labs but we are watching to see when this is enabled."
Once big names like Apple, Google and Microsoft provide online stores with apps and other content tailored for such devices, ASUS will be well prepared to meet consumer needs, Shih believes. The company is believed to be working on an Eee Pad between 4 and 7 inches, but it's not known what OS it will use; Android would provide it with a ready-made app store but not content optimized for the larger screen size.
The company is also prototyping smartbooks, or devices that are slightly larger than smartphones and have more comprehensive Internet browsing capabilities. In this regard, Shih doesn't feel consumers will be quick to adopt the newly developed operating systems seemingly just for the devices, such as Google's Chrome OS due to their familiarity with and the long-standing dominance of Windows software. Shih did agree in the interview that another Google product, Android, will eventually become the main OS used in netbooks and smartbooks due to its low cost. Both Chrome and ASUS are being tested on devices in ASUS labs.
Finally, Shih said he thinks netbooks and smartbooks will eventually turn into ever smaller devices users can wear on their wrist, such as the WaveFace concept ASUS showed off recently. These will have touch, voice and gesture recognition, Shih predicts, as PCs get more portable and easier to use instead of ever more powerful.