Although it was obviously never meant to be a direct iPad competitor, Asus' 12" Eee Pad EP121 numbers among the most interesting slate concepts we've seen to date. A DigiTimes story posted earlier this morning sheds more light on the system... and makes a somewhat disappointing prediction: the EP121 may be aimed at the "high-end enterprise market" only.
DigiTimes, which based this story on tips from "market watchers," adds that the EP121 will feature a Core i5 processor, a "modified" version of Windows 7, both multi-touch and stylus input, a webcam, and HDMI output. In light of those specs, the rumored $1,000 price tag comes as no surprise. The site doesn't make it clear whether Asus will retain the neat modular design it showed at Computex, though. (The prototype we saw featured a detachable keyboard and palmrest module with an extra battery, a mechanical hard drive, and additional connectivity.)
Based on this story, I'm getting the feeling the EP121 will join the HP Slate 500 in the ranks of relatively expensive, Windows-powered, and enterprise-focused slates. That's kind of a shame; this is clearly a cool concept, and if Asus manages to get the battery life right without making the system too heavy, it could be advertised as more of a laptop with a twist than an over-specced tablet. Then again, we still don't know exactly what shape the final product will take.
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