Asustek Computer Inc., the world’s fifth-largest PC vendor, launched its next-generation Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet in Taiwan yesterday, which is seen as a growth engine for its tablet sales in 2012.
The Taiwan-based company is expected to ship 3 million to 4 million tablets in 2012, about double the 1.8 million forecast for the whole of this year, according to dealers.
In terms of combined shipments of regular notebooks and netbooks, Asustek is forecast to ship nearly 19 million units this year and between 22 million and 25 million units in 2012, the dealers said.
The thinner and lighter Transformer Prime is the world’s first tablet powered by a quad-core processor from Nvidia Corp., which enables full HD 1080p film playing up to 18 hours and faster photographing with an upgraded 8-megapixel camera.
The 10.1-inch model, which is compatible with the latest Android 4.0 operating system, will go on sale in Taiwan Dec. 3 at a price of between NT$17,900 (US$594) and NT$20,900, or between NT$20,900 and NT$23,900 for the detachable keyboard model.
Asustek CEO Jerry Shen forecast at an Oct. 31 investor conference that the Transformer Prime will account for 15 percent, or between 200,000 and 300,000 units, of the company’s total tablet sales in 2011.
However, Asustek is facing competition from rival Amazon’s lower-priced Kindle Fire tablet, which was launched in September at a price of US$199 and is expected to cut into sales of higher-priced models.