We take a closer look at Asus' 10'' Eee Pad

COMPUTEX — We visited Asus' booth yesterday for a closer peek at the 10" Eee Pad. (To see our coverage of the 12" Eee Pad EP121, head over here.) The 10" device is still very much in the prototype stage, so web browsing didn't work, and getting some private hands-on time was a no-no. Still, the operating system and touch-screen interface seemed functional:

The Asus staffer giving us the demo slid his finger laterally to switch between icon sets on the home screen, just like you'd do on an iPhone or iPad. Included applications ranged from a web browser and photo viewer to a video player (with high-definition video support) and, interestingly enough, an iBooks-style e-book reader:

The 10" Eee Pad EP101TC will have an Nvidia Tegra system-on-a-chip inside. It will run Windows Embedded Compact 7, which won't support standard x86 Windows apps, but we're told users will be able to fetch third-party software from an Asus-branded version of the Intel app store. Asus claims battery life will range from six to 10 hours, which would put this Eee Pad in the same league as the Apple iPad. Unlike the iPad, though, it will be able to play Flash videos.

With that mix of hardware and software, a half-inch profile, a weight of less than 1.5 lbs, and a $399-449 price tag, the Eee Pad EP101TC certainly seems like it could become a worthy competitor to the iPad. We weren't particularly impressed with the prototype's display—as you can see in the images above, the picture was somewhat dim, and the glossy finish made content difficult to read. Asus has plenty of time to iron out such kinks, though.

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