Taiwan makers to display 10 iPad-like devices at Computex

Some companies remain nervous about whether people will like tablet devices

Taiwanese companies will show off "at least 10" devices similar to Apple's upcoming iPad at the Computex electronics show in June, one of the event's organizers said Tuesday.

"All the major laptop PC companies will have a tablet device to show at Computex," said Chang Li, deputy secretary general of the Taipei Computer Association, which co-organizes the Computex Taipei trade show, which runs from June 1 - 5 this year.

Chang declined to say what kind of chips or software the tablets will use. Taiwanese companies that make notebook computers include Acer, Asustek Computer, Micro-Star International (MSI), Gigabyte Technology, Quanta Computer and Compal Electronics.

Asustek executives have already said they plan to launch a tablet PC later this year to compete with the iPad, while MSI displayed a tablet PC with a 10-inch screen running Google's Android mobile software at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early this year. A Compal device with a 7-inch screen, also with Android, has been shown in Taipei. The MSI and Compal tablet PCs both had Nvidia Tegra chips inside.

MSI has taken a more cautious approach to the tablet device market since giving the market a peek at its device.

"We're waiting to see the market's response to Apple's iPad," said Erika Jean, a marketing director in the notebook sales division at MSI. It's expensive to launch a new kind of product, she said, and risky because failures are costly.

Tablet devices have been launched before to little fanfare in the market, touted as good tools for workers but haven't caught on in a big way. This time may be different. Apple believes a wireless Internet connection and 9.7-inch touchscreen on the iPad will make the device good for surfing the Web, watching movies, reading books, gaming and using a range software applications.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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