Asus To Launch Linux-Based Tablet PC


Mobile PC and netbook PC maker Asus said on Friday that it plans to launch a "pad device" or tablet PC this fall that the company said will target both commercial users and non-commercial content consumers.

Asus CEO Jerry Shen said that even before pad devices -- what he called tablet PCs -- became a hot topic, his company already had an ongoing internal project to develop them.

"We defined the opportunity to provide an open solution, a more complete pad device to (put) user experience in content consumption and productivity all together," Shen said.

Shen was speaking to analysts and reporters at the company's second quarter 2010 financial results conference.

Shen divided portable PCs into two types, including the PC, which is used more for productivity, and the pad-type devices, which are aimed at content consumption.

Asus' upcoming pad device will target both markets. "Insert into a docking station with PC functionality, storage, and interfaces, it will be an exceptional PC as well. It will bridge the PC world to the pad world," he said.

The tablet PC market in 2011 will be divided into the Apple camp, which will be about 50 percent of the market, and the non-Apple camp, including those based on Android and Microsoft technology, which will be about 40 percent of the market, Shen said.

Asus' strategy is to be the best choice in the non-Apple camp, where it will draw on experience and resources from both its PC and its smart phone business, including its strong relationships with Google, Intel, and other ARM processor partners, Shen said.

"So I think we have the big chance to become the best choice in the 40-percent, non-iPad, pad device (market)," he said.

After the financial Webcast, Shen provided more details about the upcoming tablet PC to a group of reporters, according to PC World.

The device, for now called the Eee Tablet but which may be renamed the Eee Note, is expected to include an 8-inch LCD touch screen with a 1024 x 768 display but no backlight in order to make it easier on the eyes than a normal LCD screen when used as an e-reader.

Shen told reporters the Eee Note will run on Linux, and not on Google Android, PC World said. Several reports last month cited Asus sources as saying the company would use the Google Android operating system. Prior that, expectations had been Windows would be the OS of choice.

The Eee Note is expected to include a stylus for taking notes, and onboard software to digitize those notes, as well as a 2-megapixel camera and a digital audio recorder, making it suitable for the education market, he said.

Also to be included is Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, 2 GBs of internal memory, and a 10-hour battery life. It is expected to launch in October with a price of around $300, PC World said.