updated 10:45 pm EDT, Mon April 18, 2011
ASUS may ship 100,000 Eee Pad Transformers at best
ASUS could face anemic shipments of the Eee Pad Transformer based on claims from Taiwan's Apple Daily [note: Apply isn't correct]. The company had planned to ship 200,000 of the Android 3.0 tablet in April but has allegedly faced a touch panel shortage that would cut its production numbers to less than 100,000. A recovery was possible in two weeks but would need both on-target May and June shipments to hit its earlier expectations.
Reasons for the shortage weren't given. The Tohoku earthquake in Japan wouldn't have been the direct cause as it happened over a month ago, but whether it created lingering supply issues or even affected ASUS at all isn't certain without knowledge of where the touchscreens are sourced. Many touchscreen panels are developed and made in Taiwan.
The figures regardless of any shortage duration would have ASUS setting relatively modest targets. Full production would have the $399 tablet represent five percent of ASUS' revenue with nearly all of the rest coming from its conventional computer and peripheral businesses. ASUS' whole quarter shipments would be just a fraction of what Apple is expected to ship, as well, though it also hasn't set expectations of hoping to challenge the iPad.
ASUS is approaching the Eee Pad Transformer as a potential best-of-both-worlds tablet that can operate independently as a 10-inch tablet but, with a special keyboard attachment, can behave more like a notebook and last for an extra-long 16 hours. The slate is also the least expensive known Android 3.0 tablet to date and, at $399 in the US, is the first to significantly undercut Apple.