ASUS’ Tablets: Separating Facts from Friction

January 13th, 2011 in .News & Events
Nick Holland
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ASUS tablets are going to be late and only running Android 2.3? Really? Seems strange then that the Chairman himself would get up on stage and say that, but alas the Inq claims people have said otherwise.


Naturally, as we write about all things ASUS here at TiS, this got me a little worried: had I been told lies?

The short answer is no, I have not been, and nor was anyone else who went to the ASUS press conference at CES.

I dug through my business cards, got on the phone and called the Eee Pads Product Manager. Afterwards I also got in contact with John (mentioned in Inq’s article), an industry friend and guy I even chat to on Facebook. I wanted to know what was really going on, and this is it:

Inq: ANDROID 3.0 HONEYCOMB will not be the operating system running on three Asus tablets announced at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, even when they finally tip up months later than expected.

Mr. W (PM) explained this was untrue, his team are still on course to launch the tablets with 3.0 ‘Honeycomb’, they are just waiting on Google’s release schedule now.

Inq: Asus marketing specialist John Swatton told The INQUIRER late today that because the company did not know the detailed technical specifications requirements of the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, it could not confirm that Honeycomb will be the tablets’ OS.

I specifically asked John about this, and he explained that this is a mis-understanding (or mis-interpretation *cough*) as Google hasn’t officially stated the exact requirements for 3.0 yet. It wasn’t to say it won’t be the OS, just that everyone aiming to use it – including ASUS – is going on guidelines rather than finalised specs list.

Inq: He also explained that the tablets will not be released until some time in the third quarter. The Asus announcement at CES had said that they would be launched in the second quarter.

Unfortunately not, Inq, Mr. W said ASUS is still on chart for the dates originally given launch dates at CES: April, May and June. That is, provided Google doesn’t slip its own 3.0 OS launch schedule. Another thing to be clarified is that John is speaking for ASUS UK market who might plan their release dates of the pads differently to the global launch dates, which are confirmed by ASUS global (headquarters).

Inq: Android tablets that don’t have phone functionality can’t use the Android Marketplace, so companies such as Toshiba and Archos are creating their own app stores.

Uh, that’s because the 10.1″ models are designed as a tablet PC, not a smartphone. How would you hold a 10.1″ ‘phone’ to your ear? Or even slide it in a pocket to keep it handy, just in case you received a call? Even then, it was shown at CES that the MeMo 7″ tablet will have phone support similar to the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It’s called the “MeMic” and is a “Bluetooth media phone extender”. First one on Google that was.

Mr. W, also confirmed ASUS will have the standard Android Marketplace, because 3.0 is designed for tablet devices like the Eee Pads. Toshiba and Archos are using Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ on their tablets, which Google currently gives its Marketplace limited support for.

Also, how exactly is the Android marketplace – a portal for downloading Android applications – related to making phone calls? Answer: it’s not. Customers with WiFi will be able to access the Android marketplace, and ASUS will announce further details at CeBit (early March 2011).

So there you have it, if you want genuine ASUS news – including tablets – come back to TiS, and as always if you’ve got any more questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below.

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