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ASUS plans Android-powered Eee Pads alongside Windows-based versions

It seems that most companies are opting for a two-pronged approach to competing in the tablet market, and ASUS is no exception. In addition to its soon-to-be-launched Windows-based tablet, the company has also announced plans to release an Android version of the Eee Pad.

Do you remember the ASUS tablet which was displayed during Computex 2010? The device which supposedly ran on Windows 7, featured a 12-inch touchscreen and had a full-powered Core 2 Duo processor? You probably may still do.

But if you thought that ASUS was only going to concentrate on delivering Windows-powered tablets to the masses, you could not have been further from the truth. In fact, the company has just recently announced that it plans to launch another tablet under its well-established Eee banner. And like most of the competition, this new tablet will be loaded with…surprise, Google’s Android operating system.

According to an article by PC World, the Android tablet will be the third device to be marketed under the Eee Pad name and will feature a low retail price, probably to increase its appeal to budget-minded consumers who only need basic internet capabilities in a tablet form-factor on the go.

ASUS CEO Jerry Shen has reportedly claimed that the Android Eee Pad will be priced lower than US$399, at least US$100 cheaper than the base-model iPad currently sold by Apple. He also claimed that ASUS currently has 800 software engineers working on Android for its smartphone division, a talent pool which the company intends to tap on for tablet development.

However, the company is also keen on bringing out Windows-based tablets to the market, although it is clear that it intends to set itself apart from the competition by focusing on the traditional computing metaphor.

Unlike most conventional tablets sporting either Atom processors from Intel or ARM processors, ASUS’s 12-inch tablet (Eee Pad EP121) packs a powerful Core 2 Duo processor and Windows 7 Home Premium, and making it more of a touch-oriented notebook than anything else. This allows the EP121 to run virtually every single application available for the desktop Windows operating system, due to the processor’s native x86 and x64 capabilities. However, it also packs a US$1000 price tag, which Shen believed was unavoidable.

“If you want to compete with the iPad, you have to do more than just be less expensive,” he said. “You have to offer more features. We want to spend more time perfecting the [Eee Pad] before we launch. We’re looking more at Q1 to launch the devices.”

A scaled-down, 10-inch version of the tablet running on an ARM processor and utilizing Windows Embedded Compact 7 was also exhibited in Computex this year. ASUS has reportedly planned a January launch for the 10-inch tablet which is expected to retail retail for US$399-US$499.

Source: PC World

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