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Asustek new 4G tablet to go on sale in June

2012/05/29 18:35:30

Taipei, May 29 (CNA) Asustek Computer Inc. said Tuesday that its second tablet computer supporting fourth-generation (4G) high-speed wireless broadband will go on sale next month after Computex Taipei, the world's second-largest tech trade fair, scheduled to take place June 5-9.

The Transformer Pad TF700KL, powered by a 10.1-inch full HD display and Google Inc.'s Android 4.0 operating system, will hit stores in the United States and Europe in June and will run on long-term evolution (LTE) networks in those sales areas, the company said.

The LTE-enabled tablets will likely start from US$699 per unit, while a WiFi model will be priced cheaper -- at between US$499 and US$699 -- when it goes on sale in Taiwan next month, said Chris Chang, an Asustek product manager.

"The U.S. and Europe remain our major markets for LTE-enabled tablets, while South Korea and Japan are the two countries in Asia that are growing rapidly in terms of LTE technology," he said on the sidelines of a pre-show news conference for Computex.

Given a shortage of chipsets from Qualcomm Inc., however, worldwide shipments of the Transformer Pad TF700KL could be limited in the early stages, Chang added.

Asustek's first LTE tablet, the Transformer Pad TF300KL, is ready to go on sale in the United States this month, but the product is facing stiff competition from arch-rival Apple Inc. due to the iPad maker's close partnership with telecom operators, he said.

On the other hand, Asustek also plans to unveil a number of 10.1-inch tablet PCs running on the touch-enabled Windows 8 operating system at Computex, with a 1366x768 resolution that is lower than that of Asustek's current premium lines.

This is because Microsoft Corp. has asked manufacturers to follow certain specifications when producing the first wave of Windows 8 tablets, Chang explained.

According to market advisory firm DisplaySearch, worldwide shipments of tablet PCs are expected to grow from 81.6 million units in 2011 to 424.9 million units by 2017.

In terms of operating systems, Apple has been dominant in tablet PCs but is expected to lose market share from 72.1 percent in 2012 to 50.9 percent in 2017 as Android increases from 22.5 percent in 2012 to 40.5 percent over the same period.

Market share for Microsoft's Windows is also expected to grow, but from a very small base of 1.5 percent in 2012 to 7.5 percent in 2017, DisplaySearch said.

(By Jeffrey Wu)