Asus MeMO tablet hits further delays

The Asus Eee Pad MeMO looks to be stretching off into the dim and distant future as the Taiwanese electronics giant struggles to hit launch dates for its wide range of Android-powered tablet devices.

A report in Tablets Magazine makes the claim that the Eee Pad MeMO is unlikely to make an appearance before 2012, and even goes so far as to suggest that it might not be released at all as the company concentrates on its other tablet offerings.

"If the tablet is launched," the magazine's source is quoted as saying, "it will not make its appearance until some time in 2012." It's that 'if' which is being picked up on as evidence that Asus is wavering on whether the device should be released at all.

We got some hands-on time with the MeMO at CeBIT earlier this year, and it was an impressive enough device at the time: featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running at 1.2GHz and the at-the-time unreleased Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' operating system, it was one of the most powerful devices on display.

It's the clever accessory that Asus plans to bundle with the MeMO that really sells the gadget: dubbed the MeMIC, the remote connects to the tablet via Bluetooth and allows functions like audio playback to be controlled via a series of buttons and a futuristic transparent screen. In the 3G-equipped models, it even acts as a handset for voice calls using the tablet's in-built modem.

Sadly, the company's plans to launch the device in April fell flat. When the tablet didn't show up in shops on time, the company decided to up the specs to appease fans anxious to get their hands on the device and unveiled an upgraded version with a glasses-free 3D display at Computex.

Sadly, it now looks like this version is delayed too, but Asus strongly denies rumours that the device is heading for cancellation. "It's certainly not cancelled," a spokesperson for the Taiwanese company has told thinq_. "It's just going to be released later in Q3 now, last I heard."

The delay, it seems, is due to the focus Asus is placing on its increasing array of tablets: as well as the Transformer, which is suffering from build quality issues as the company struggles to meet demand, Asus is also in the process of launching the Slider with integrated pop-out keyboard. Soon those will be followed by the PadPhone, a device which uses a smartphone as its 'heart' and docks with a large display to form a tablet.

"We're just getting Slider out now," the spokesperson explained, "so launches are stretched a bit."

With a Q3 launch still on the cards, it looks like the rumoured 2012 delay - or worse, outright cancellation - is disproved. Unfortunately, that still leaves Asus with a bunch of competing designs in an increasingly crowded market.