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Is Asus prepping an Android tablet?

Jul 20, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Asus is switching its consumer-oriented EP101TC tablet (pictured) from Windows CE to Android, claims NetbookNews. Meanwhile, HP has trademarked the word “Palmpad,” which is likely to be the name for its upcoming WebOS-based tablet, says The Inquirer.

Asus' EP101TC tablet will come with Android instead of the originally mooted Windows CE when it ships in the first quarter of 2011, says NetbookNews. The 10-inch, ARM-based tablet is likely to run the upcoming Android 3.0 ("Gingerbread"), says the story, which offers no more details.

Asus showed off a prototype of its EP101TC tablet at the Computex show in Taiwan in early June, as reported in our sister publication, WindowsForDevices. The tablet was said to run Windows Embedded Compact 7, Microsoft's new name for the latest version of Windows CE.

According to WindowsForDevices, Asus also demonstrated a 12-inch Eee Pad EP121 tablet at Computex, featuring Windows 7 and a removable keyboard. NetbookNews made no mention of this model, however.

Asus EP101TC prototype running Windows Embedded Compact 7

A longtime close partner of Microsoft, Asus has resisted using Android. Asus flirted with an Android netbook design last year, but then determined that the early versions of Android were not sufficiently capable of running on netbooks.

The closest the company has come to risking Redmond's wrath by sampling Android is through its smartphone partnership with Garmin. Garmin-Asus announced its Android-based, navigation-focused Nuvifone A50 in February, and the phone was re-spun for T-Mobile as the Garminfone.

In April, Asus and rival Taiwanese consumer electronics and computer vendor Acer both said they would support the Linux-based MeeGo operating system, with netbooks and tablets speculated as potential products. At Computex, Asus also announced an eight-inch ARM/Linux monochrome e-reader tablet called the Eee Tablet, which does not run MeeGo.

Acer, meanwhile, was recently rumored to be launching both seven-inch and 10-inch ARM-based Android tablets in the fourth quarter.

HP trademarks "Palmpad"

Having acquired Palm and its Linux-based WebOS mobile operating system, HP is rumored to have cancelled or postponed both its Windows-based Slate tablet (pictured at right) and an unnamed Android tablet prototype.

Now, The Inquirer, which always refers to HP as "the maker of expensive printer ink," reports that the company has been awarded a U.S. trademark for the word "Palmpad."

HP has not released details on what it plans to do with the trademark, but The Inquirer reasonably infers that the name will be used for the company's upcoming WebOS-based tablet, which HP said is in the works. A WebOS-based tablet called the HP Hurricane is rumored to be ready for shipment as early as this quarter. (For a history of HP's Slate and WebOS tablet news over the last six months, please see our recent coverage, here.)

The trademark application says that HP will limit the use of the "Palmpad" name to "computers, computer hardware, computer software, computer peripherals, portable computers, handheld and mobile computers, PDAs, electronic notepads, and mobile digital electronic devices."("Electronic notepads" would appear to be a "Bingo!")


The NetbookNews story on Asus' Android plans for the EP101TC tablet may be found here.

HP's trademark for the word "Palmpad" may be found here, and The Inquirer story on the trademark award may be found here.

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