updated 07:55 am EDT, Fri April 23, 2010
ASUS now targeting Eee Pad at Apple
ASUS on Friday confirmed the existence of the Eee Pad and set itself up for a battle against Apple in the tablet space. Chief executive Jerry Shen said the Eee Pad would reach shops in the summer (likely late July) after an unveiling in early June and that it was being tweaked to compete against the iPad. The tablet has had its industrial design upgraded and is being developed with some cooperation from Google on the Android platform it uses, Shen said.
The CEO took a further jab at Apple by claiming that the Eee Pad will have an edge over the iPad through support for Adobe Flash, a built-in front camera and standard USB. He didn't clarify whether this would involve the eventual release of Flash 10.1 or if will use the more limited Flash Lite as a placeholder.
Previous leaks have already hinted that the Eee Pad will be smaller than Apple's, at no more than seven inches, but that it will have an NVIDIA Tegra chip and may support 1080p video.
ASUS' design may be more expensive and still struggle to get any ground, however. Contacts for DigiTimes claimed the Eee Pad would cost roughly $479 to $510, but only after being bundled (and possibly subsidized) with 3G service. Internal estimates may also have only 300,000 Eee Pads shipping in 2010; Apple sold 300,000 iPads just on launch day and may have already passed one million.
Taiwanese firms are all thought interested in jumping into the tablet arena to prevent Apple from cornering the business, but some may be cautious before they commit. A rumored MSI tablet is now also said to be reaching stores in the summer as the M Pad but may get low initial shipments as MSI takes a "wait and see" approach on ramping up both its advertising and production.