At a Computex press conference, ASUS Chairman Jonny Shih took the wraps off of three new tablet designs: the 12-inch Eee Pad EP121, 10-inch Eee Pad EP 101TC and the model numberless Eee Tablet. All three of these reach different market segments and offer features that the iPad does not.
The Eee Pad EP121 is a high-end tablet that offers a complete Windows 7 experience. It features a dual core Intel CPU (which CPU is still TBD), a 12-inch 1366×768 screen, and Windows 7 home premium, though with a nice fancy touch UI. It has a couple of docking stations available, including a keyboard docking station that turns the EP121 into a 12-inch notebook.
According to ASUS, the purpose of the EP121 is to provide a complete solution for content consumption, creation, and productivity. With the keyboard docking station, the EP121 can be used for writing, media editing, and business tasks that are difficult on a slate-only device. With the keyboard attached, the EP121 reminded us a great deal of the now-delayed Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid, though the Hybrid did not run Windows 7 on its tablet.
The Eee Pad EP101TC is a 10-inch tablet that plays a bit more directly in the iPad space, because it focuses mainly on content consumption and entertainment. It has a nice media-centric interface and runs an embedded version of Windows and does not have optional docking stations.
Both Eee Pads are not due to ship until Q1 of 2011. ASUS is targeted a price point under $500 for the EP101TC. Pricing is unknown for the EP121.
Where the Eee Pads are trying to reach a broad consumer audience, the Eee Tablet is designed to be the ultimate note-taking device for students and business people alike. The device runs on a proprietary version of Linux, an ARM processor, and a grayscale LCD, but after watching a brief demo of the $199-device, we think this could be the most compelling new product of the three.
As an eReader the Eee Tablet promises nearly immediate page turns (0.1 seconds), something competitors like the Kindle and Nook lack. Unlike the iPad, its grayscale screen is easy on the eyes, and it promises to last 10 hours on a charge. It will also support the ever popular ePub format.
As a note-taker, the Eee Tablet could hardly offer more functionality. Its stylus uses Wacom technology to give it an incredibly smooth drawing / hand writing experience. But if writing down notes or drawing diagrams when you’re in a meeting or class is not enough, why not take a picture of the whiteboard? The Eee Tablet has a back facing camera that will take photos of anything and let you annotate it. You can also record sound while you take notes. So just imagine recording a college lecture and then playing it back while you read the notes and look at photos of the whiteboard.
When you’re done taking notes, you can sync with a PC via USB, a micro SD card, or even over Wi-Fi. The Eee Tablet is due in September, but, in the meantime, check out our video of it below.