TAIPEI: Asus stole an early march on its rivals at a pre-Computex press event on Monday, staking its claim for leadership of the tablet and notebook spaces with some high profile launches, most notably a combined tablet-smartphone known as the Padfone.
The device, which was hinted at by Asus in the days preceding the show, includes a 3G smartphone which docks into a larger 10.1in tablet-sized device at the back, recharging the phone from the tablet's larger battery.
Essentially it enables users to decide on the screen most suitable for a given task, according to Asus. For example, a business user may want to switch to tablet mode for a videoconferencing call.
Both devices share the same SIM card and storage system, and data transfer between the two is "seamless", the firm said.
Final specifications have yet to be decided, but the Padfone will be Android-powered.
Asus also used the pre-show press conference to launch another highly-trailed product, the Eee PC X101 netbook, which weighs in at just under 950g, and is 17.6mm thick. Interestingly, customers can chhose between MeeGo or Windows, and a hard drive or SSD. The device will start selling from $199.
Finally, Asus announced 3D capabilities for the Eee Pad MeMO tablet unveiled at CES earlier this year, and expanded its N Series notebook range built with Bang & Olufsen designer David Lewis.
The firm also launched the new UX Series of ultra portable notebooks. Asus is clearly looking to breathe life back into a notebook market which has taken a hit since the arrival of tablets, giving the machines an aluminium unibody design weighing between 1kg and 3kg, a metallic spun finish and a chassis coming in at only 17mm at its thickest point.
The notebooks will also come with Intel second-generation Core processors up to the i7, which make them five times faster than current notebooks, claimed Asus president Jonney Shih.
"We are at a critical time. The whole industry is reshuffling, including processors and operating systems," he said. "But this is the best opportunity for Asus. The borders between notebooks and tablets are changing so we want to take that opportunity and break the rules."
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