The tech gossip vine was swinging in full force yesterday, when Asus announced that it would launch a “killer product” in June this year. What could it be? A new Eee PC, another Wii controller rip-off or perhaps a new tablet?
According to DigiTimes, the company’s chairman Jonney Shih said Asus - unlike Apple - would adopt open-source platforms including ARM and Google combinations, and Windows/Intel to suit consumer demand.
This has led a few people to speculate that the aforementioned “killer product” is an ARM-based tablet PC running open source software, and they could well be right.
Our sources say that the forthcoming “killer product” is indeed a tablet PC, which will be based on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 technology, and will run Google’s Android OS.
Nvidia’s Tegra 2 technology is based on a 1GHz dual-core version of ARM’s Cortex A9 processor, and also features a 3D graphics processor and hardware HD video decoder. This is plenty of power for a tablet running Android.
Nvidia also hinted at this likelihood, when its PR guru for Northern Europe, Ben Berraondo, posted a tweet about it yesterday, saying “Oooh #Asus 'planning a 'killer product' for June'....I sense something ARM based in the air #Tegra,” before linking to this story on Engadget.
According to our sources, the product should be up and running in time for Computex this year. In fact, an early sample of an Asus tablet concept design was shown off on Nvidia’s stand at CES this year, and shown again in Nvidia's CES presentation (see the picture above). Our sources say that this is very likely to be a prototype of the aforementioned “killer product.”
Asus just has to get the price right if it wants to compete with Apple, and the rumour mill suggests that it will cost under $500 US, which is around the starting price of the Apple iPad.
Asus certainly has the manufacturing expertise; it’s already manufactured iPods and MacBooks on behalf of Apple. However, Asus will need to price its tablet much more competitively if it really wants the company to become the open-source equivalent to Apple.