updated 08:15 am EDT, Wed October 5, 2011
ASUS CEO downplays ultrabook as tablet cure
ASUS chief Jerry Shen on Wednesday disagreed with Acer's view that ultrabooks will rescue PCs from tablets. In an observation, Shen called ultrabooks and tablets "parallel" categories that wouldn't see one steal sales away from the other, Digitimes heard. He didn't see any changes coming until at least Windows 8.
The CEO reiterated that it was getting its UX-series ultrabooks under $1,000. A dip below wasn't likely until Intel's Ivy Bridge processors. Apple, the effective creator of the ultrabook with the MacBook Air, is so far the only builder that can reliably get its system to the $1,000 mark.
Part of ASUS' confidence would come from its own tablets. The Eee Pad Transformer 2's details aren't yet official but have it carrying a quad-core processor, likely the Tegra 3, as well as Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Shen has so far only gone on record as saying it would start at $499 and stay roughly competitive with Apple.
The split between Acer and ASUS reflects the companies' attitudes towards going beyond traditional PCs as well as their different emphases on low-end notebooks. Acer has depended very heavily on netbooks and cheap notebooks and, despite getting involved in tablets out of necessity, has repeatedly insisted tablets are going away within months only to be proven wrong. ASUS like Acer didn't commit to tablets until the iPad established a significant market, but it has a much more aggressive strategy and has a better mix of higher-end notebooks.