There is no denying it. The Apple iPad is a smash hit. This house that Jobs built this week announced that it has sold more than two million of its tablet PCs since it was launched just two months ago, and comes as the device made its international debut with releases in Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan. Earlier this year BroadPoint AmTech predicted that Apple would sell about 778,000 tablets per month with total sales of 6.2 million by the end of this year, and since that time the research firm has raised the estimate to seven million for the year, and now Gartner has suggested the numbers could go as high as eight million.
Clearly it is worth noting that the iPad has beat Wall Street analysts’ projections, so much so that the tablet is still in demand at many stores. But Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, offered some good news to those who have yet to actually buy an iPad and haven’t been able to find one in store, “We appreciate (consumer) patience, and are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone.”
But some of the aforementioned numbers came out prior to the announcement of so much competition, and this week the Computex trade show in Taiwan Apple just got some new competition. As expected a couple of major players in the space, including Asus and MSI have announced their own respective tablets with the goal to take a bite out of Apple.
Among the potential iPad killers is the Asus Eee Pad, which company CEO Jerry Shen unveiled to the audience at the Taiwan World Trade Center this past weekend. The Eee also caused some confusion, as there is a strangely similarly named Asus Eee Tablet, which is aimed at e-readers such as the Kindle, while the Eee Pad is aimed at the tablet market!
The Eee Pad, which is designed to be both a business solutions device and a consumer product, will function as a multimedia player, e-reader, Web-browser and with a docking station and keyboard as a fully-fledged PC. It will also be available in two versions, one with a 10-inch screen and another with a 12-inch screen. The tablet(s) (not to be confused again with the actual Eee Tablet) will run a version of Windows 7, and will have an Intel CULV Core 2 Duo processor under the hood. Users will be able to take advantage of the device’s touch-sensitive capacitive screen. Both the EP101TC (10-inch model) and EP121 (12-inch model) will offer 10 hours of battery life according to Asus. Both models will be released later this year, with prices around $399 and $449 respectively.
The Eee Tablet, the true e-reader, will also be available in September for $199 to $299 (price pending), and will be essentially an after-hours device, with a 2megapixel camera, electronic notepad, media player and a battery life of 10 hours.
But Asus wasn’t the only company to unveil a tablet, as MSI also debuted its WindPad 100, another flat PC that will run Windows 7 Home Premium. This one has a 1.66GHz Intel Atom processor and 2GB of RAM, as well as a 32GB SSD hard drive. It will likely arrive later this year, with prices estimated to be around $499. What is notable is that it will feature a webcam, dual USB ports and an HDMI output meaning it will be useable with HDTV sets and other HDMI-compatible monitors. MSI further showed off a second table, the MSI 110, which interestingly enough runs Google’s Android OS.