Here come the iPad "killers": Asus, MSI show off new tablet PCs at Computex

Summary:This year's installment of Computex is getting off to fast start when it comes to tablet PCs that hope to compete with the iPad. While most top-tier computer companies haven't provided details on devices that can go head-to-head with Apple's tablet, two of the major Asian brands have unveiled their challengers at the Taiwanese expo.

This year's installment of Computex is getting off to fast start when it comes to tablet PCs that hope to compete with the iPad. While most top-tier computer companies haven't provided details on devices that can go head-to-head with Apple's tablet, two of the major Asian brands have unveiled their challengers at the Taiwanese expo.

Hoping to make the biggest splash, Asus is introducing two flavors of Eee Pad—a 10-inch model (EP101TC) that will run Windows Embedded Compact 7 and a 12-inch unit (Eee Pad EP121; pictured) that uses Intel Core 2 Duo CULV processors and Windows 7 Home Premium. Windows Embedded Compact 7 is the latest version of Windows CE and is purportedly the basis for the Windows Phone 7 OS, but most buyers would presumably be more interested in the full Windows 7 experience. Asus promises the EP121 will offer 10 hours of battery life, but the company provides little other info about the EP101TC, other than to say that Windows Embedded Compact 7 provides "engaging user experience and delivers instant connectivity to the Windows world".

The good news is that Asus has told Engadget that the Eee Pads will be priced from $399 to $499. The bad news is that the devices won't be available until the first quarter of 2011, giving Apple even more time to increase its market share.

MSI also announced a new tablet running Windows 7 Home Premium, but it's going with an Intel Atom Z530 processor instead of CULV CPUs. The WindPad 100 comes with a 10-inch display, 2GB of RAM, and a 32GB SSD drive. It is supposed to arrive sometime in 2010 for around $499, but Engadget's hands-on impressions aren't super-encouraging: The tech blog noticed that the prototype it was handling suffered from slow load times for applications. That's a definite no-no running up against the iPad, which everyone can agree is quite responsive whether or not you're a fan of the device.

If MSI can't produce better performance from the final version of the WindPad 100, it has an alternative up its sleeve in the form of the WindPad 110, which is based on Nvidia's Tegra 2 processor and will run Android instead of Windows 7. It could come even cheaper at $399, though there's nothing official in terms of pricing or release date.

Can any one of these tablets give the iPad a run for its money? If so, which one will it be? Give us your predictions in the Comments section.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Processors, Software, Windows

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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