Asus spills the beans on its new tablets

While accurately describing the sound geeks make when opening a box of brand new kit, Asus's "eee" brand is also a heavy hitter when it comes to thin, light and mobile offerings. Although known for their netbooks and net-top devices, Asus announced their entries to the tablet market back at Computex in June and is finally laying down proper details for their iPad-killing wares.

Asus plans to release more than one eeePad with the lower, 8 to 10 inch models starting at less $399. Android powered and targeted directly at iPad, this device is not only cheap but will fill the gap between Asus's power line up of fully fledged tablets as well.

Android seems to be just the beginning for Asus, with a cryptically (when isn't it) named device, Eee Pad EP121, set to slot in somewhere between netbooks and laptops performance wise. The EP121 is a 12 inch tablet that is slated for pricing at almost double that of an iPad. "If you want to compete with the iPad, you have to do more than just be less expensive," said Jerry Shen of Asus, "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." Although priced at $1000, the device is no slouch: running Windows 7 Home Premium and featuring a Core 2 Duo processor and a docking station that turns this tablet into a laptop with full keyboard. Excitingly, this could be one of the first devices to ship with UI Centric's game changing UI overlay, although this is purely interesting speculation.

After targeting the low and high ends, you'd think that it'd be just about time to wrap it up, yet Asus is covering the middle range as well. With a 10 inch tablet running Windows 7 Compact Embedded and powered by an ARM processor, the company is set to saturate the market all by themselves this winter.

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@Mouettus

Yes I agree, Win7 is apparently great for touch on a tablet right out of the box, you have touch, you have all the ports people need, you have an internet full of apps, come on, we are waiting.

I am looking forward to seeing any Win 7 tablet or slate that has great battery life, great reviews and sells even half as well as an iPad, bring it on please, bring it on now.

derekaw said,
I am looking forward to seeing any Win 7 tablet or slate that has great battery life, great reviews and sells even half as well as an iPad, bring it on please, bring it on now.

yep. they're overdue on the market IMO. I dunno what's taking so long. there's not even software to write! just put the hardware in a case, slap windows on and sell for profit.

While accurately describing the sound geeks make when opening a box of brand new kit, Asus's "eee" brand is also a heavy hitter when it comes to thin, light and mobile offerings.
Best opening line. EVER.

Why bring UI Centric up? It doesn't make any sense for ASUS to use it, especially seeing how big ASUS is and what they have already demoed for the Windows tablet. Way to make stuff up.

smithy_dll said,
Why bring UI Centric up? It doesn't make any sense for ASUS to use it, especially seeing how big ASUS is and what they have already demoed for the Windows tablet. Way to make stuff up.

I had the same thought...

smithy_dll said,
Why bring UI Centric up? It doesn't make any sense for ASUS to use it, especially seeing how big ASUS is and what they have already demoed for the Windows tablet. Way to make stuff up.

What did they demo? When they showed the EP121 it was a hardware prototype with no software!

smithy_dll said,

Why bring UI Centric up? It doesn't make any sense for ASUS to use it, especially seeing how big ASUS is and what they have already demoed for the Windows tablet. Way to make stuff up.

Does the word "speculate" mean anything to you or do you read just as selectively as you think?

People really diss a tablet running win7 but it can work and work very well and will be ALOT more useful than just a big ipod touch. The newer harware that the Win7 tablets will be using is very fast and will not be slow like the ifans keep portraying

Here is a good video showing an Ipad VS a win7 slate and the win7 slate is actually faster at doing most things.

http://kara.allthingsd.com/201...dows-7-slate-vs-apple-ipad/

While Windows 7 itself might be useable with touch input on a tablet, the vast majority of Windows apps are NOT geared towards touch input, which is why tablet PCs never gained much popularity before the iPad came along with a different approach.

roadwarrior said,
While Windows 7 itself might be useable with touch input on a tablet, the vast majority of Windows apps are NOT geared towards touch input, which is why tablet PCs never gained much popularity before the iPad came along with a different approach.

Most of what I use works well with touch on my convertible tablet, and for those few situations/applications that don't, it takes 2 seconds to pull out the stylus (which, contrary to what Jobs claims, is a total win) which can do anything a mouse can and then some (handwriting recognition is especially nice on Windows 7).

JonathanMarston said,

Most of what I use works well with touch on my convertible tablet

I guess it really comes down to what types of apps you use on a daily basis. Even watching the video above, it's quite clear that many tasks in Windows simply weren't designed to be used with anything less precise than a mouse (the Start > All Programs menu is a prime example). And I think that the popularity of stylus-free smartphones as opposed to Windows Mobile phones that require a stylus has shown that most people hate the idea of using one (me included - I've owned several Windows Mobile devices, and I absolutely hated the stylus).

roadwarrior said,

I guess it really comes down to what types of apps you use on a daily basis. Even watching the video above, it's quite clear that many tasks in Windows simply weren't designed to be used with anything less precise than a mouse (the Start > All Programs menu is a prime example).

I can't speak for all tablets, but mine has a relatively high dpi screen (12.1" @ 1280x800), so I set it to 120 dpi in the control panel, and docked the start menu to the left side of the screen. This makes UI elements plenty big enough to touch, and makes the taskbar extremely convenient to use with my left thumb, while primarily using my right index finger to navigate around. Everything from Microsoft (and a few 3rd-party apps, like Firefox) supports touch-scrolling (rather than using the scrollbars) and pinch-zoom.

I primarily use my tablet for light tasks (Internet surfing, e-mail, chat, watching videos, and the like), as I have two full-size laptops and a super-powered desktop for when I need to get "real work" done. I have been able to use it for some light Photoshop work and coding though, as the screen flips around to reveal a full keyboard.

roadwarrior said,
I've owned several Windows Mobile devices, and I absolutely hated the stylus.

You can't compare the stylus and cheap resistive screen of a WM phone to the Wacom active digitizer that my tablet has - totally different input devices. It takes no pressure to write (althought it is pressure sensitive), and supports "hovering" since it can "see" the stylus without it even touching the screen. There's also a button on the stylus for right-click, and an "eraser" on the back. It also disables the touch screen when the stylus is close the screen, so you can rest your hand on it while using the stylus. It truly is a joy to use.

JonathanMarston said,
You can't compare the stylus and cheap resistive screen of a WM phone to the Wacom active digitizer that my tablet has - totally different input devices.

It's not the way that the stylus works that bothers me, it's the necessity of it in the first place that I hated.

swanlee said,
People really diss a tablet running win7 but it can work and work very well and will be ALOT more useful than just a big ipod touch. The newer harware that the Win7 tablets will be using is very fast and will not be slow like the ifans keep portraying

Here is a good video showing an Ipad VS a win7 slate and the win7 slate is actually faster at doing most things.

http://kara.allthingsd.com/201...dows-7-slate-vs-apple-ipad/


Since I've seen the first demo of the EP121 I have the feeling that this is gonna be the best Windows 7 Slate currently announced. The possibilities are great: use it with touch friendly programms (e.g. Windows Live Essentials, Office, Media Center, Media Player, IE, Paint ,...) while in slate mode. If you do heavy work (e.g. programming, writing more than a few mails,...) dock this thing into the "notebook"-stand and use it as subnotebook.
Think this will replace my EEE 1000H. Hope the "notebook-stand" is gonna be a single great battery (think about it: you got 10h with the slate alone, you could get 20h with such a thing ) and hub for additional connections.

roadwarrior said,

I guess it really comes down to what types of apps you use on a daily basis. Even watching the video above, it's quite clear that many tasks in Windows simply weren't designed to be used with anything less precise than a mouse (the Start > All Programs menu is a prime example). And I think that the popularity of stylus-free smartphones as opposed to Windows Mobile phones that require a stylus has shown that most people hate the idea of using one (me included - I've owned several Windows Mobile devices, and I absolutely hated the stylus).

Ok, if you are doing Start - All Programs then you fail there. If you use the computer like it is Windows95, then you can't bitch about it not being touch friendly or pen friendly when there are several better ways to interact or get to your programs.

It would be like trying to use and iPad like System9 and then complaining that you don't have a good menu bar, etc...

swanlee said,
People really diss a tablet running win7 but it can work and work very well and will be ALOT more useful than just a big ipod touch. The newer harware that the Win7 tablets will be using is very fast and will not be slow like the ifans keep portraying

Here is a good video showing an Ipad VS a win7 slate and the win7 slate is actually faster at doing most things.

http://kara.allthingsd.com/201...dows-7-slate-vs-apple-ipad/

At the end they poke fun at the StartMenu not being as easy to Navigate; however, when setting up a Touch Interface, just drag a shortcut to the Program Folder to the desktop or pin it to the Taskbar, and bingo you have one click (or double click) to a Folder view of all your applications in big Icon format that is just like launching applications on an iPad. (You can even set the options to single click launch them, just like an iPad or Android interface as well.)

Some reason people forget that using the Programs Folder is an easy to access option and much easier to navigate with finger based touch than the Start Menu.

It is also strange that people forget how customizable Win7 is in just the included OS UI for stuff like this, let alone if you want to slap a 3rd party touch style launcher and use it.

roadwarrior said,

It's not the way that the stylus works that bothers me, it's the necessity of it in the first place that I hated.


I only really use the stylus when I need to do something that the stylus is better at; like text-entry or drawing, and writing with a stylus is so much better than typing with an on-screen keyboard!

I'm really interested to see what they do with the Windows CE one they discussed very briefly. Too bad there is no app store for CE. I think people are really expecting apps and an app store these days.

mystraven said,
I'm really interested to see what they do with the Windows CE one they discussed very briefly. Too bad there is no app store for CE. I think people are really expecting apps and an app store these days.

CE, and Embedded Compact 7, hasn't, and isn't designed to be just dropped on a device. It's essentially an OS that you build, with the hard stuff done for you, and the final layers are put on top by the OEM (Windows Mobile exists on top of Windows CE 5.2, and Windows Phone 7 sits atop CE6.0 as examples).

You don't just use it out of the box, and as such, it's not really down to Microsoft to provide an app store for it. With Silverlight development though, targeting EC7 is extremely easily, with a commonality of app design shared by WP7, and equally, we might see an App store from Asus, or even a MS hosted App store to provide for the deulge of tablets on the horizon.

mystraven said,
I'm really interested to see what they do with the Windows CE one they discussed very briefly. Too bad there is no app store for CE. I think people are really expecting apps and an app store these days.

Well if you think about it this is where Microsofts decision to go with Silverlight/XDA for their WP7 apps creates a big advantage, all they have to do is to add these technologies to W7CE and they can share the app store.

hvakrg said,

Well if you think about it this is where Microsofts decision to go with Silverlight/XDA for their WP7 apps creates a big advantage, all they have to do is to add these technologies to W7CE and they can share the app store.

Embedded Compact 7 supports Silverlight for development.

I'm all for new devices but I honestly think that Apple has everyone beat when it comes to tablet PCs. I would also go as far to say that the iPad is not infact a tablet and is just a variation of the iPod Touch/iPhone and is thus in a league of its own.

As for Asus not having these tablets running Android, well I think they've already flopped. I truely feel Windows on such a device cannot function with the ease that iOS functions on an iPad. Maybe if they have that UI it will feel a little better but Windows just isn't up to the job for a tablet PC.
I also agree that they need some kind of market place for apps, but again this limits them to Windows only applications when Android already has a well established market place.

kaotixkc said,
I'm all for new devices but I honestly think that Apple has everyone beat when it comes to tablet PCs. I would also go as far to say that the iPad is not infact a tablet and is just a variation of the iPod Touch/iPhone and is thus in a league of its own.

As for Asus not having these tablets running Android, well I think they've already flopped. I truely feel Windows on such a device cannot function with the ease that iOS functions on an iPad. Maybe if they have that UI it will feel a little better but Windows just isn't up to the job for a tablet PC.
I also agree that they need some kind of market place for apps, but again this limits them to Windows only applications when Android already has a well established market place.

The small inexpensive ones do run Android. How come people only read the first and last line of an article.
As far as Apple beating everyone with tablets, well that's just a load of malarky.
They just proved you can build a low power screen for consuming content.
In that league, they can have all the suckers that want to dish out for it.

The Android and Windows devices will offer much more than the ability to consume content.

dotf said,

They just proved you can build a low power screen for consuming content.

Which has so far proven to be the best use for a tablet.

kaotixkc said,
I'm all for new devices but I honestly think that Apple has everyone beat when it comes to tablet PCs. I would also go as far to say that the iPad is not infact a tablet and is just a variation of the iPod Touch/iPhone and is thus in a league of its own.

As for Asus not having these tablets running Android, well I think they've already flopped. I truely feel Windows on such a device cannot function with the ease that iOS functions on an iPad. Maybe if they have that UI it will feel a little better but Windows just isn't up to the job for a tablet PC.
I also agree that they need some kind of market place for apps, but again this limits them to Windows only applications when Android already has a well established market place.

I personally refuse to believe the future of computing is a giant Palm Pilot.

virtorio said,
Which has so far proven to be the best use for a tablet.

My current convertible tablet with win7 and onenote does much more than enable me to consume content.

Best and Most popular uses differ greatly.

kaotixkc said,
I'm all for new devices but I honestly think that Apple has everyone beat when it comes to tablet PCs. I would also go as far to say that the iPad is not infact a tablet and is just a variation of the iPod Touch/iPhone and is thus in a league of its own.

As for Asus not having these tablets running Android, well I think they've already flopped. I truely feel Windows on such a device cannot function with the ease that iOS functions on an iPad. Maybe if they have that UI it will feel a little better but Windows just isn't up to the job for a tablet PC.
I also agree that they need some kind of market place for apps, but again this limits them to Windows only applications when Android already has a well established market place.

Ya they are in their own league cause:
1) iPads have awesome Voice recognition built throughout the OS, oh wait, it doesn't, Win7 TabletPCs do.
2) iPads have awesome handwriting recognition, oh wait, they don't and are can't even do pressure sensitivilty or a pen. (Even a ZuneHD can do pressure Sensitive with a multi-touch display.)
3) iPads are really fast and powerful compared to..., oh wait, the iPad is several times slower at loading web content than even the cheapest Netbook/Win Slate/Win TabletPC.
4) iPads can run anything and, oh wait, they only can run specific Apps from the Apple store where with a TRUE TabletPC you get access to millions of applications and all the online Flash and Java, and Silverlight games/applications on the web too.
5) iPads are great for transcribing, oh wait, again that would be a TabletPC with OneNote, that is not only transcribing the lecture/meeting you are attending, but it is timelining it to the typed and handwritten notes you are taking, and also converting the handwriting to text.


iPads are fine for what they are, but they are so far out of league when compared to a Win7/Vista TabletPC that is truly is laughable that people think the iPad is the perfect 'TABLETPC'.

I absolutely love the concept of a netbook that you can detach the monitor to turn it into a touch tablet. that is the best of both worlds!

LoveThePenguin said,
1k? lol. Good luck selling those things. Windows 7 and tablets don't go together period. Too expensive, and too little battery life.

When it was shown at (CES I think), it was with a 10 hours battery life. I'd pay $1000 for a Windows 7 tablet with a proper processor and a good battery life.

LoveThePenguin said,
1k? lol. Good luck selling those things. Windows 7 and tablets don't go together period. Too expensive, and too little battery life.

1k could put an i3 on this thing. and thus, save some more battery life.

Mouettus said,

1k could put an i3 on this thing. and thus, save some more battery life.

Doubt that. It's a CULV Core 2, and they have pretty minimal power draw anyway.

LoveThePenguin said,
1k? lol. Good luck selling those things. Windows 7 and tablets don't go together period. Too expensive, and too little battery life.

The price is a bit steep, but don't bad on the battery life.

But remember can also just buy a regular 12.1 TabletPC, that has multi-touch, pen/handwrting, and they are 4lbs and get 6hrs of battery life for around a $1000 and this includes 4GB of RAM, 320GB HD, and an I3 or I5 processor in a convertable format with optical drive.

The more 'Slate' type market needs to get prices down, and push the advantages of a Pen and Touch interface over just a touch inteface like the iPad. Asus already has a couple of Netbook style TabletPCs that even with Win7 get 6hrs of battery life (consistent use, as standby/hibernate can let you keep it running for days of occasional use. However, they don't market them well and often are still throwing XP on them which not only hurts performance but relegates all the touch and pen features to be worthless.