updated 04:00 pm EDT, Tue July 6, 2010
ASUS hints at Eee Pad plus keyboard as iPad rival
ASUS CEO Jerry Shen in a talk on Monday outlined a new line of approach for how his company would tackle the iPad. He explained to Poland's RP that the iPad "inspired" the PC builder and others to make touchscreen devices but that it would try to overcome the iPad's limitations through the Eee Pad. Its optional detachable keyboard section will "breathe new life" into netbooks by leaving the to EP121 work as a tablet but still have the option of becoming a Windows 7 netbook with a hardware keyboard.
Shen wasn't tied to Microsoft and observed tthat there were "different solutions" in development for computing that might not necessarily use Windows. Some of the innovation would have to come through software too, he said. ASUS is a key partner for Google's Chrome OS and has reportedly developed an Android tablet, although the rumor persists of Intel and Microsoft strongarming that made ASUS downplay any device that didn't either use an Intel processor or a version of Windows.
ASUS is familiar with touchscreen devices but, until last month, had no demonstrable plans to expand its touchscreen-only devices beyond smartphones. Most of its tablet plans until now were focused on convertible netbook tablets such as the Eee PC T101MT.