COMPUTEX – Few in the audience gasped when Asus Chairman Jonney Shih (literally) lifted the veil off the Eee Pad this afternoon in Taipei. Asus execs had already spoken publicly about upcoming slate devices, and the rumor mill chipped in with juicy nuggets of extra gossip. In spite of all that, however, Asus' choice of hardware and software for the 12-inch Eee Pad EP121 caught some of us in the audience by surprise.
Rather than a low-power iPad competitor with an ARM chip, or at least some kind of Atom, the Eee Pad EP121 packs a Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage Core 2 Duo processor and runs the full version of Windows 7 Home Premium. Much like the Skylight smartbook Lenovo announced at CES in January, the Eee Pad EP121 also docks into a sort of laptop shell with a hinge, whereby it looks and behaves much like a regular laptop. Asus claims 10 hours of battery life for the docked config.
For something closer to the iPad's playing field, Asus has the Eee Pad EP101TC, which has a smaller 10" display, a half-inch profile, and a weight of just under 1.5 lbs. Shih didn't go into a whole lot of detail about that machine's hardware, but we understand it runs Windows Embedded Compact 7 and supports Flash video.
Shih went on to show the Eee Tablet, a sort of e-book reader on steroids with a pen interface, a built-in camera, a 2,450-DPI touch screen, and an e-paper display. Asus claims this contraption has much quicker page turning times than the Amazon Kindle, but it doesn't advertise it solely as a reading device, instead seeing it in the hands of students. (The Eee Tablet actually comes "preinstalled with an assortment of notepad templates," according to the announcement.")
See the gallery below for shots of the Eee Pad EP101TC and the Eee Tablet.