Windows RT is quickly becoming the kid in high school who never showered and whom no one wanted to sit with in the cafeteria. The Wall Street Journal reports that Asus has officially cancelled all of its plans to make Windows RT tablets because no devices based on the operating system have sold well. Asus is just the latest Windows OEM to give Windows RT the cold shoulder as HTC had to cancel plans to release a Windows RT tablet earlier this year and Acer has said that it’s unsure if it will ever release another Windows RT tablet again. Despite apathy from both OEMs and consumers, however, Microsoft has vowed to keep plugging away with Windows RT until it’s successful.
It’s not just consumers who are avoiding Windows RT these days. In an interview with AllThingsD, Asus chairman Jonney Shih said that his company has no current plans to release any more tablets based on Microsoft’s Windows RT platform because the results from earlier RT tablets have been “not very promising.” While Shih didn’t rule out making a Windows RT device again at some point he said that for now Asus remains solely focused on creating Windows 8 devices that use Intel chips. Asus is just the latest Windows OEM to give Windows RT the cold shoulder as HTC had to cancel plans to release a Windows RT tablet earlier this year and Acer has said that it’s unsure if it will ever release another Windows RT tablet again.
A new report claims the next-generation Nexus 7 tablet is just around the corner. According to Digitimes, Google and ASUS are planing to launch a second-generation Nexus 7 in late July or early August. The tablet will reportedly feature an upgraded 7-inch display with 1980 x 1200-pixel resolution along with a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel camera on the back. It has been estimated that Google could sell as many as 8 million units worldwide, however some analysts are skeptical because of the increased number of low-cost tablets available today. The second-generation Nexus 7 is expected to be priced between $199 to $249 for the Wi-Fi only model.
With the PC industry in decidedly bad shape lately, PC vendors have been looking for alternative ways to generate revenues in a computer market that’s increasingly tilted toward mobile devices. IDG News, via PCWorld, reports that Asus plans to release its first Chromebook in the second half of 2013 while hoping to continue the success it’s had so far in shipping Android tablets. Asus has no illusions that Chromebooks will be mass consumer products, but Asus CEO Jerry Shen tells IDG News that the “Chromebook is good, not on the consumer side, but it’s good in the education and government side, and some for the commercial side.” IDG notes that Asus shipped 3 million Android tablets in the first quarter of 2013, so it’s clear that the company is more than willing to look beyond Microsoft for operating systems for its devices.
A handful of companies are said to be preparing new Chromebook models that will launch later this year. According to a report from Digitimes, both Acer and ASUS are optimistic about the long-term prospects of Google’s Chromebooks and are working on low-priced computers that will debut in the second half of 2013. Acer is reportedly planning to target students with a new 11.6-inch model to be released in July, while new Chrome OS-powered computers are expected from ASUS, HP, Samsung and Lenovo later this year. Of note, ASUS never planned to enter the market but has apparently rethought its strategy. Google is also said to be working with ASUS, Acer, HP and Samsung on so-called “Androidbooks” that could debut in the near future.
The CEO of ASUS (2357) has set an ambitious goal for his company: To become the largest vendor for touchscreen notebooks, and the second-largest for all notebooks and tablets in 2013. Digitimes reports that CEO Jerry Shen set the goal at a recent meeting with investors, adding that the company also plans to launch new smartphones in August. In the most recent quarter, ASUS generated a majority of its profit from sales of its notebook computers, which totaled 59% of revenue, followed by the success of its Transformer line of tablets. The company recently announced two new hybrid devices, the PadFone and FonePad, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and look to increase its smartphone market share around the world.
Why? Seriously, Asus (2357). Why? This question bears asking, as going hands-on with Asus’ new Fonepad truly requires some big hands. Single-handed operation is a thing of the past. Remember when diminutive phones were the latest trend? When iPod grew smaller and smaller and RAZRs got thinner and thinner? Wave goodbye, dear friends. That age is long gone. More →
I admit it: I’m normally a sucker for hybrid devices that cleverly combine form factors or integrate functionality between smartphones, laptops and tablets. I really liked how Microsoft (MSFT) implemented the Surface Touch Cover, for instance, and I was also a fan of Motorola’s Webtop software that let you plug your smartphone into a laptop dock. There’s just one problem with many these hybrids, however: There’s no evidence that most consumers want to buy them even if they’re well implemented, as Motorola discontinued the Webtop platform last fall and Microsoft has reportedly sold well under 1 million Surface RT tablets. More →
Google (GOOG) doesn’t reveal sales figures for its Nexus smartphones and tablets, however that hasn’t stopped people from speculating and trying to figure out just how many devices the company has sold. Mobile industry analyst Benedict Evans crunched numbers from ASUS (2357), the manufacturer of the Nexus 7, and found that Google likely sold between 4.5 million to 4.6 million units of its flagship 7-inch tablet. The estimates were derived using overall tablet sales reported by ASUS and various statements from the company’s CEO. While sales of nearly 5 million units is respectable, it falls significantly short of the competition. Evans estimates that despite being released in November, Apple (AAPL) may have sold around 10 million iPad mini tablets and Amazon’s (AMZN) new Kindle Fire likely “outsold the Nexus 7 as well.”
It has been long rumored that ASUS (2357) was working on a new low-end Android tablet, and earlier reports were confirmed on Monday when Asus announced its new 7-inch MeMo Pad. The device looks nearly identical to the Nexus 7 Asus launched with Google (GOOG) but will likely cost 25% less than Google’s entry-level slate. The MeMo Pad is equipped with a 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel resolution display, a 1GHz single-core VIA WM8950 processor, 8GB or 16GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, a 1-megapixel front-facing camera and Android 4.1. Unlike the Nexus 7, the MeMo Pad also includes a microSD slot for additional storage. ASUS did not reveal pricing or availability although it has been widely reported that the MeMo Pad will be offered for $149.
The PC industry is in shambles and manufacturers have begun to explore new options to increase revenue. According to The Wall Street Journal, ASUS (2357) is in talks with Microsoft (MSFT) on a licensing deal to offer Windows Phone 8 device. This makes sense for ASUS since smartphone shipments increased by nearly 50% in 2012, compared to a mere 3.2% growth in computer shipments, and the company already has experience in the mobile world after developing a variety of Android tablets. More →
It’s been rumored for a while that Google (GOOG) and ASUS (2357) are working on a $99 Nexus tablet. Although benchmarks can easily be faked, a new GLBenchmark for a tablet identified as only “ME172V” and reportedly built by ASUS has popped up with specs well below those of the Nexus 7. According to the GLBenchmark, the entry-level Nexus 7 could have a 7-inch display with a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution display, 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a 4270mAh battery and Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. Interestingly enough, the purported low-end Nexus 7 also has a micro SD card slot, which the original Nexus 7 does not. It’s possible that the entry-level tablet could be an entirely new Nexus product, or even not a Nexus-branded tablet at all. In September, ASUS denied it was working on an entry-level Nexus 7 for Google.
Microsoft (MSFT) may have sold an impressive 40 million Windows 8 licenses so far, but that doesn’t mean OEMs are seeing the same strong demand for new computers and tablets. The Wall Street Journal reports that Asus CFO David Chang is less than pleased with how Windows 8 devices have sold so far and says that overall “demand for Windows 8 is not that good right now.” This doesn’t mean that Windows 8 is doomed, however: Daiwa analyst Christine Wang tells the Journal that she expected early demand for Windows 8 to be sluggish since early component costs have resulted in higher-than-optimal prices. Once OEMs get these costs under control in 2013, she says, demand for Windows 8 machines should ramp up.