Wed, Oct 06, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Mio Technology to release tablet

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwanese portable navigation device (PND) maker Mio Technology Ltd (宇達電通) is poised to join the tablet fray by unveiling its own device by the end of the year, a company source said.

“Talks are underway with telecom operators in Asia, where the device will be primarily introduced,” the source said, adding the US market would not be one of the rollout markets.

The tablet, called Mio Moov V780, is a 7-inch multi-touch tablet that was showcased at this year’s CeBIT. It features Wi-Fi or WiMAX, and has a digital TV receiver. Its carrying case doubles as a keyboard dock for extended use.

A built-in 3G module to support phone conversation could be an option, but the company may not include it in the module to keep the sale price “competitive,” the source said.

The Mio Moov V780 runs on the Windows CE operating system (OS) to offer consumers Web browsing and it boasts GPS navigation — a core feature for Mio offerings.

Mio has been trying to diversify into consumer electronics products by leveraging on its GPS navigation as the overall PND market has become saturated.

MiTAC International Corp (神達電腦), Mio’s parent company, bought US-based Magellan Navigation Inc’s PND operations in December 2008 for US$96 million.

This followed its acquisition of US rival Brunswick Corp’s GPS unit in March 2007 for US$16 million to obtain its Navman brand.

The debut of Mio’s tablet had initially been set for the second quarter last year, which would have given the company a jumpstart in the tablet frenzy, but its delay until the end of this year has allowed other firms such as Apple Inc to take the mantle as industry leader.

Meanwhile, HTC Corp (宏達電), the world’s leading maker of smartphones running on the Windows Mobile and Android OS, has its first tablet in the works and is scheduled to debut it in next year’s first quarter, according to the Chinese-language Digitimes.

The tablet will be made by Pegatron Corp (和碩), a contract maker of notebooks, motherboards and graphic cards.

Sources said HTC’s tablet will ride on Nvidia chipsets, Android 3.0 OS and most likely will be smaller than the 9.7-inch iPad for product differentiation.

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