Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) is expected to ship 12.1 million tablet computers this year, up 92.06 percent from 6.3 million units last year, thanks to strong demand for its popular Nexus 7 tablet computers and Transformer tablet series, IBTS Investment Consulting Co (IBTSIC, 台灣工銀投顧) said in a note yesterday.
Asustek’s Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet computer co-branded with Google Inc, which first hit the US market in July last year with a US$199 price tag. It was marketed in Japan in September and in Taiwan last month during the IT Month electronics fair.
Acer Inc’s (宏碁) tablet shipments are forecast to increase to 5 million units this year, from less than 2 million units last year, after Acer chairman and chief executive officer Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂) vowed to roll out more tablets this year to improve the firm’s ranking in the industry, IBTSIC said.
Acer last week launched its first low-cost, 7-inch touchscreen tablet, the Iconia B1, during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Available at a starting price of less than US$150, the Iconia B1 is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor manufactured by MediaTek Inc (聯發科) and runs Google Inc’s Android Jelly Bean system.
Acer spokesman Henry Wang (汪島雄) said by telephone yesterday that the Iconia B1 will go on sale in Taiwan by the end of this month with a price tag of about NT$5,000.
In a bid to take on Acer’s Iconia B1, Asustek on Saturday launched a 7-inch Android tablet called the Asus MeMO Pad in the US, retailing at US$149.
The MeMO Pad runs the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system and fully supports Google Play, the store where users can download more than 750,000 apps and games.
Asustek spokesman Nick Wu (吳長榮) yesterday said the company is planning to launch the new tablet in Taiwan this quarter, but declined to elaborate on pricing range.
IBTSIC analyst Chen I-ling (陳以玲) said tablet computers will be the main driver of Acer’s and Asustek’s sales this year.
However, the two companies might see a limited sales increase this quarter given that demand for personal computers is usually weak during the first quarter of a year, she added.
The two companies’ overall notebook shipments are likely to decrease by between 10 percent and 15 percent this quarter compared with last quarter, Chen said.
Asustek’s shares closed down 0.6 percent at NT$333 in Taipei trading yesterday, outperforming the benchmark index, which ended up 0.06 percent. Acer’s shares closed up 0.81 percent at NT$24.9 at the end of the session.
IBTSIC raised its target price for Asustek shares to NT$365 and for Acer shares to NT$26.74.