updated 08:45 am EDT, Fri August 13, 2010
ASUS Eee Pad with Android due in March
ASUS chief Jerry Shen on Friday confirmed that his company was developing an Android version of the Eee Pad. The slate should arrive in March and should undercut Apple's iPad with a $399 or lower price. He wouldn't give more details but was quoted by PC World as diverting some of ASUS' smartphone team to tablets to produce the design.
The executive for now debunked rumors that the Android model was replacing the Windows Embedded version. The EP101TC is still coming, Shen said, although it will be more expensive than the Android version with a price between $399 and $499.
In spite of earlier claims, the full Windows 7 tablet, the EP121, will cost closer to $1,000 when it ships in either December or January. Shen justified the price as it had a companion dock that turned it into a full computer. It also uses relatively high-end components, such an ULV Core 2 Duo processor and a full version of Windows 7.
Also, Shen said the Eee Tablet would come in at a lower price than expected. The e-paper note taking tool would ship for about $300 and would be the earliest of all the tablet-style devices, shipping in October.
ASUS has been relatively late to tablets despite outlining plans this spring, but the decision to launch an Android device points to a greater seriousness in the arena, which for now is almost exclusively dominated by the iPad. Many had expected the company to ship an Android tablet relatively quickly, but unconfirmed suspicions have persisted that Intel and Microsoft forced silence and demanded that either Atom- or Windows-based tablets arrived first.