Fri, Dec 02, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Asustek forecasts doubling of tablet PC sales next year

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Models show versions of Asustek’s new Transformer Prime Android tablets at their launch in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Ping-hung, Taipei Times

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), the world’s fifth-largest PC brand, yesterday said it expected shipments of its tablet PCs to double next year on robust sales of the popular Eee Pad Transformer series.

The company plans to sell as many as 4 million tablets next year, up from its forecast shipments of 1.8 million this year, according to a company executive who asked to remain anonymous.

Asustek Computer chief executive Jerry Shen (沈振來) yesterday said he was upbeat about sales of Asustek tablets at a press conference to unveil the company -second model, the Transformer Prime, which it says has better features than Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy Tab and Apple Inc’s iPad 2.

Asustek adjusted downward its full-year target of shipping 2 million tablets to 1.8 million in late October, after Amazon announced plans to release Kindle Fire this quarter with a price tag of US$199 — less than half that of an iPad.

Asustek said in October that it shipped 400,000 tablets in the second quarter — when the Eee Pad Transformer debuted, and shipments doubled to 800,000 in the third quarter.

The company estimated that it would ship 600,000 tablets in the fourth quarter, bringing total shipments for the year to 1.8 million.

The company is set to focus on one model — the Transformer series — for future tablet designs and phase out other models such as the E-Slider and the E-Slate, Shen said.

The Transformer series has been well received by consumers as it comes with a detachable keyboard that converts the tablet into a 10.1-inch notebook. The keyboard also doubles as an extra battery source.

Asustek will compete with Samsung for third or fourth place among PC brands next year, Shen said, while Apple and Amazon would remain the top two vendors.

The thinner and lighter Transformer Prime is the industry’s first tablet powered by a quad-core processor from Nvidia Corp that enables it to play full HD 1080p movies.

The 10.1 inch model, which is upgradeable to the latest Android 4.0 operating system — dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich — will go on sale at the IT Month consumer electronics fair, which starts tomorrow in Taipei, at a price of NT$18,000 (US$599), or NT$21,000 with the detachable keyboard.

Asustek has also cut the price of its first Transformer model to between NT$13,500 and NT$16,500 to make it more competitive.

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