Asus: Netbooks will return with MeeGo and Android
Von Bernd Kling am 6. März 2011
Thanks to Windows netbooks have been transformed into mini-laptops, said ASUS CEO Jerry Shen during an interview at CeBIT 2011. But Asus plans to return to the original idea of the netbook with new models this year. The company is actively working with Intel and wants to present its first netbook with the Linux based MeeGo this summer. Another model will run with Googles Android OS. Intel’s Atom chip will be inside of both models. Interestingly, Shen did not even mention Chrome OS, another OS alternative initiated by Google.
Asus did start its successful line of netbooks with a Linux based Eee PC, but Microsoft later managed to dominate the market licencing restricted Windows versions at lower prices than ever before (“Windows 7 Starter”). But OEMs obviously have to think again as tablets rise with alternative operating systems and netbook sales are getting cannibalized.
“Playing on the weaknesses of Apple”
Asus also has great plans for tablets. While it considers its Eee Pad 121 with Windows 7 a niche product (“it sold a lot better than we planned”), the company is betting big on the upcoming Eee Pad Transformer with Android. There are even tablets with 3D-screens and quad-core processors in the pipeline. While Jerry Shen respects Apple’s position in the tablet market he sees good chances in competing:
“We are pioneers in computers, and they were pioneers in tablets. Our strength lies in the fact that we offer customers a choice. And in many respects our devices are more functional. ASUS will continue to develop in this direction. For example, up to 30% of users still prefer a hardware keyboard. But the software from Apple is very good, forcing us to compete really hard. It is through the interface and the ecosystems they’re ahead. We are ahead in the hardware. I think Google has a chance to win with the support of Qualcomm, Nvidia, Intel and others. Apple has its own processor, and it is their weakness. And if there is a chance for Google, then it is ours. We will be playing on the weaknesses of Apple.”
Image: Asus Eee Pad Slider, a tablet / laptop hybrid (“tabtop”)