iPad challenge looms large at Asia IT show

Tablets that match the iPad but at a cheaper price. Slimmer, more powerful notebooks. At Computex, Asia's top IT fair, manufacturers are showing how they plan to face the challenge from Apple's iconic product.

Taiwan-based Compal Electronics made its name as a producer of notebooks for big-league brands like Dell and Toshiba, but it too has now joined the tablet frenzy and is just months away from launching a seven-inch device.

"Of course, iPad is the number one challenge," said Yeta Huang, a Compal senior engineer.

"But we believe there's room for us, with the market size for tablet predicted to exceed 50 million this year. Cheaper price is one area where we're trying hard."

Computex, a sprawling event held in Taipei this week, provides a snapshot of a technology sector scrambling to find the right approach to the iPad, a product embraced by gadget lovers worldwide.

Since Apple's groundbreaking product was released in April last year, a proliferation of brands have hit the market with limited success, and manufacturers have also been hurt by eroding demand for traditional PCs.

Intel Corp, the world's top chip maker, has used Computex to unveil its response to the iPad, a type of thin laptop that it has dubbed Ultrabook.

It is "a new class of mobile computers" that "marry the performance and capabilities of today's laptops with tablet-like features," according to the American chip maker, suggesting the future will not just be all tablet.

"There is healthy room for PC growth, but affordability is key to PC penetration," Intel vice president Sean Maloney said according to the Taipei Times newspaper. "Now is the time to reinvent the PC platform again."

Even so, companies know they cannot ignore the tablet and have moved quickly to enter the market.

Taiwanese PC maker AsusTek Computer set up its first tablet business unit in November 2010, just months after Apple unveiled the iPad.

"Our Chairman Jonney Shih feels the tablet industry has great potential. That's why he decided to establish the new business unit," said Kakuangelo Kuo, a product manager of AsusTek's Eee Pad Business Unit.

"Leading computer brands all have adjusted downward their PC shipments this year as they expect part of the PC market to be eaten away by tablets," he said.

Ray Chen, Compal's president, said that while his company remains confident about the notebook market, where it derives 90 percent of its revenue, it will diversify into tablets and other products.

That way it hopes to raise its non-notebook revenue to 20 percent by the end of this year, Chen said according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Despite all the attention that tablets receive, analysts with a cool view of broad trends in the industry also see continuity in the future.

The good old desktop is not going away, since for large portions of the world's population it remains the only affordable option, they say.

In addition, in many emerging markets the infrastructure is not yet developed enough to make mobile Internet browsing a seamless, troublefree experience.

"Regular notebooks or desktops will feel less pain as demand from emerging markets, such as Russia, China, India and Brasil remains strong," said Kuo Ming-chi, a Taipei-based analyst with Concord Securities.

This demand will help offset the decline of PC demand from North America and Western Europe following the lauch of the iPad and other tablets, he said.

Some dissenting voices are moving to hose down the tablet hype.

"I bought a tablet and after three weeks, I found it can't replace my phone, and it can't replace my PC," Mooly Eden, general manager of Intel's PC client group, told the Asian Wall Street Journal at Computex.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    Recruitment Genius: Data Scientist

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - Javascript

    £18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Strategic Partnerships Coordinator

    £16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Their research appears at the f...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks