Good news, bad news: Android Eee Pad to cost $399, ship in March
The Asus Eee Pad EP101TC is a 10 inch tablet that Asus plans to launch as a competitor to the Apple iPad. While we’d heard reports last month that Asus had dropped plans to ship the tablet with Windows Embedded Compact 7 and instead use Google Android, PC World reports that Asus will actually launch two models, one with each operating system. Both will run $399 or less.
Asus CEO Jerry Shen says the Windows Embedded version could ship in January, while the Android model won’t be available until March.
The $399 price tag could make the tablet pretty competitive. The Apple iPad starts at $499 and goes up as you add 3G capabilities and additional storage space. The Notion Ink Adam Tablet which is expected to ship later this year or early next year will sell for $399 to $498.
Of course, by January to March of 2011, when the Asus 10 inch tablets are expected to ship, I fully expect Apple to bring down the cost of the original iPad to nil and to launch a second generation unit that comes with a jetpack. Or you know, something else equally cool.
Asus does plan to offer a 12 inch Eee Pad EP121 by December or January. This model will run Windows 7, but it will apparently cost about $1000. On the one hand, that’s going to price it out of the range of the budget tablets so many of us have gotten excited about this year. On the other hand, all evidence I’ve seen points to the fact that you really do need more expensive equipment to get a good experience out of a tablet running Windows.
The 12 inch model will also have a docking station with e keyboard, allowing you to use the machine as a laptop. It will also have an intel Core 2 Duo CPU.