It seems like ages since we've had a good ASUS netbook tease - the company has been so busy concentrating on its Eee Pad Slider and Transform, and Eee Slate EP121 tablets that new budget ultraportables have almost fallen at the wayside. Now ASUS is promising a new Eee PC model at an event this Wednesday, the ASUS Eee PC Sirocco.
ASUS has let slip more details about its upcoming CES 2011 tablet range, publishing - and then yanking - a video partially detailing the new Eee Pad EP71, EP101, EP102 and EP121 models. NetbookNews and Notebook Italia grabbed the best bits before the video disappeared; the Eee Pad EP101 and EP102 will each run Android on a 10-inch display, the EP101 having a dockable keyboard while the EP102 has a slide-out keyboard.
ASUS may have been content to tease details of its Eee Pad EP121 tablet, but other sources aren't quite so restrained. According to DigiTimes, the ASUS EP121 is targeted at enterprise customers - hence the content creation focus and Windows 7 - while two $499 to $599 10-inch Eee Pads will take on the consumer side from March 2011. One will run Windows 7 on Intel Oak Trail chips, while the other will run Android on NVIDIa's Tegra 2. ASUS won't be the only ones with a tablet presence, either; ECS and MSI are also tipped to be bringing slates to the show.
ASUS is dropping some serious hints about its upcoming Eee Pad EP121 tablet, ahead of the slate's official debut at CES 2011 next month. According to the teaser video, the ASUS EP121 will have a 12-inch display and use an Intel Core i5 processor; that's up from the Core 2 Duo ULV chip we first heard back in May. There'll also be HDMI and USB connectivity, along with Windows 7.
Video after the cut
ASUS CEO Jerry Shen has confirmed pricing for the company's upcoming tablet range, with their Android-based model slipping in beneath the iPad's base price. According to PCWorld, the ASUS Eee Pad EP101TC will cost under $399 when it arrives in March 2011, and will be the third in the company's new line-up; first will be the ASUS Eee Pad EP121, announced back at Computex and set to cost around $1,000.
Bad news for Microsoft, with the word that ASUS have dropped Windows 7 Embedded Compact for their Eee Pac EP101TC touchscreen slate in favor of Google's open-source Android OS. NetbookNews were told by ASUS that the decision had been made to switch to Android 3.0 and launch the EP101TC in its new form come January 2011 at CES.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has confirmed that ASUS, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba and Sony will all be launching Windows 7 based slate form-factor tablets this year. Speaking at the Worldwide Partner Conference today, Ballmer declined to mention specific models or specifications, but did say that various form-factors and functionality would be on offer, including slates with keyboards, touchscreen-only models, some dockable and others able to handle digital ink.
A fourth ASUS Eee Pad tablet has quietly shown up at Computex, with Carrypad spotting the unannounced slate at Intel's booth. Running Windows 7 and seemingly fully functional, according to the Intel reps the tablet is a prototype that ASUS considered before settling on the 12-inch Eee Pad EP121.
Video demo after the cut
Computex 2010 doesn't kick off in earnest until tomorrow, but a few of the big name exhibitors have snuck in ahead with some early press conferences today. ASUS are first out of the gate with their iPad competition, and they're taking a three-pronged approach: the ASUS Eee Pad will be available in 10-inch (EP101TC) and 12-inch (EP121) variants, and offer Windows Embedded Compact 7 and Windows 7 Home Premium respectively, while the ASUS Eee Tablet is a monochrome digital notebook, packing 2,450dpi touchscreen input sensitivity and targeted at note-takers like students.