Windows, Chrome Set to Appear on Asus iPad Rival

Dennis Faas's picture

Taiwan computer manufacturer Asus has announced it will release at least two tablet PCs in the next few months. They'll join a growing list of potential rivals to the much-hyped Apple iPad.

Asus is better know for producing netbooks: indeed, it can be argued that its Eee PC, released in 2007, helped establish the market for the slimmed-down notebooks designed mainly for Internet browsing and light office tasks.

Chairman Jonney Shih told Forbes that Asus is still committed to netbooks, but believes there is a gap in the market between netbooks and smartphones which can be filled by tablet-style machines. (Source:

Android, Chrome Both Under Consideration

Shih was short on details about the two tablets, but noted it's likely one will be based around Windows, with the other running a Google system, either Android or Chrome. If it's the latter, the Asus machine may be the first to run the Chrome operating system, which is currently only available in beta form. It's designed around Google's services and largely consists of the Chrome browser with applications replaced by links to online services such as Google Docs.

With users also able to utilize storage space on Google servers, the operating system is designed to significantly cut hardware requirements, which could make the Asus tablet very cost-effective.

According to Shih, the machines won't be billed as direct rivals of the iPad. Instead, the use of Windows and Chrome is designed to appeal to users who like the tablet format at an affordable price, but want more options about how they can use the device. Some tech enthusiasts have criticized the iPad for being very restrictive, with Apple controlling what applications can run on it and limiting the scope for customizing the hardware.

Asus Tablet: Windows 7 A Possibility

At this stage, Asus doesn't appear to be certain what version of Windows will run on the tablet. If successful, it would be a good advert for the Starter edition of Windows 7, which is unofficially known as the 'netbook edition'. As well as being relatively cheap and undemanding, it shares the enhanced touchscreen features of Windows 7.

The exact release date of the new machines isn't set yet, but it's expected they'll get their first public unveiling at COMPUTEX, an annual tradeshow in Taipei, Taiwan starting in June. (Source:

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