Posted by: kenwbudd | May 31, 2010

Send in the iPad clones: Asus, MSI show off new tablet PCs at Computex

This year’s installment of Computex is getting off to a fast start when it comes to tablet PCs that hope to compete with the iPad.

While most top-tier computer companies haven’t provided details on devices that will go head-to-head with Apple’s tablet, two of the major Asian brands have unveiled their challengers at the Taiwanese expo.

Hoping to make the biggest splash, Asus is introducing two flavours of Eee Pad—a 10-inch model (EP101TC) that will run Windows Embedded Compact 7 and the 12-inch unit Eee Pad EP121 (pictured). This uses Intel Core 2 Duo CULV processors and Windows 7 Home Premium.

Windows Embedded Compact 7 is the latest version of Windows CE and is purportedly the basis for the Windows Phone 7 OS, but most buyers would presumably be more interested in the full Windows 7 experience.

Asus promises the EP121 will offer 10 hours of battery life, but the company provides little other info about the EP101TC, other than to say that Windows Embedded Compact 7 provides “engaging user experience and delivers instant connectivity to the Windows world”.

The good news is that the Eee Pads will be priced from $399 to $499. The bad news is that the devices won’t be available until the first quarter of 2011, giving Apple even more time to capture more than its market share.

MSI also announced a new tablet running Windows 7 Home Premium, but it’s going with an Intel Atom Z530 processor instead of CULV CPUs.

The WindPad 100 will come with a 10-inch display, 2GB of RAM, and a 32GB SSD drive. It is slated to arrive sometime in 2010 for around $499, but opinions are less than encouraging.

The prototype demo suffered from slow load times for applications. That’s a definite no-no running up against the iPad, which everyone can agree is quite responsive whether or not you’re a fan of the device.

If MSI can’t produce better performance from the final version of the WindPad 100, it has an alternative up its sleeve in the form of the WindPad 110, which is based on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor and will run Android instead of Windows 7. thought to be priced around $399, there’s nothing official on pricing or a release date.

So, until then hang on to your iPad.

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