Mobility News

Asus To Challenge iPad 2 With 'Secret Weapon'

Zewde Yeraswork

Asus Chairman Jonney Shish says Asus will unveil a "secret weapon" to challenge Apple's next-generation iPad tablet, which is expected to arrive soon.

In an interview with IDG News Service on Thursday, Shish said Asus' new line of mobile devices have the edge over Apple's mobile products, as they feature Nvidia's ARM-based Tegra 2 mobile integrated graphics processor.

"We very carefully chose our tablet processor, the Nvidia Tegra 2, and to really compete it will take [Apple] some time," Shish reportedly said. "You know, [Nvidia] is well known for graphics."

Shish said Asus' "secret weapon" is a product that's never been seen before but will be on display before it launches, although he declined to offer a specific timeline. That weapon is aimed squarely at Apple's iPad which, according to IDG News Service, accounts for 87 percent of the overall tablet market. Analyst firm Gartner forecasts worldwide media tablet sales to end users will reach 19.5 million units in 2010, primarily due to the continued success of iPad.

In December, rumors emerged regarding the next generation of Apple's iPad, presumably called iPad 2. The next iPad will reportedly include both a front-facing and a rear-facing camera, and it's also expected to be slimmer than the first generation model.

Along with the mobile segment, Shish said cloud computing will take off in 2011, bringing new platforms that will drive the next age of personal computing. He said Asus will add more products to its current cloud offerings, including creating user-friendly home theaters for entertainment, education and electronic infrastructure.

"Toward 2011, I definitely think it is going to be a booming time for personal cloud computing. The past 30 years was the personal computing era," Shish told IDG. "The next stage is in personal cloud computing and I think the beauty is it's not only one OS. It will be a few OSes but each will have to be big enough."

Shish specifically cited Chrome among Web-based platforms that offer a user experience combining traditional personal computing with features derived from the new "era" of cloud computing. Industry leaders, Shish said, ought to take note.

"I think Microsoft should learn from that and put a lot of legacy on the Web and make it light but I think for many other things you really need to do it on the personal computing side," Shish told IDG News Service. "You need to do a lot of work on the UI [user interface] and 2D and 3D graphics, and true typing and multitasking is important because sometimes you are doing a lot of things through the cloud."

Next: The Tablets Asus Launched At CES

In order to take advantage of cloud applications, Asus is offering a variety of form factor mobile embedded devices. Asus last month at CES 2011 launched four new tablets: The Eee Pad MeMO, Transformer and Slider tablets based on Android's Honeycomb OS, as well as the Windows 7-based 12-inch Eee Slate EP121tablet.

The launch of those devices was preceded in October by a similar interview announcement from Jerry Shen, president of Asus, in which Shen saida variety of Asus tablet models were scheduled for release in January, along with the 9-inch Asus Eee Reader DR-900 and 8-inch Eee Note device that launched in November through the channel.