The Taiwanese giant Asus is readying an eBook offer, with probably a low-cost reader and a deluxe version, just as Amazon and Sony are offering. It seems to be a promising new player to boost the eReading market, but so far, Asus is keeping most of its technological and marketing cards secret. As an example, will it use an LCD display (it would be risky), or E Ink technology? Will it be available worldwide? Can we expect something for Christmas? What about its 3G connectivity?
News started to leak in the press that Asus is preparing to launch an eBook reader device that, according to a recent article in the Sunday Times, “has a hinged spine, like a printed book. This, in theory, enables its owner to read an ebook much like a normal book, using the touchscreen to 'turn' the pages from one screen to the next. It also gives the user the option of seeing the text on one screen while browsing a web page on the other. One of the screens could also act as a virtual keypad for the device to be used like a laptop. Whereas current eBook readers have monochrome screens, the Asus would be full colour. The maker says it may also feature 'speakers, a webcam and a mic for Skype,' allowing cheap phone calls over the internet." (http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article6822723.ece) .
Prototype shown at CeBit
At CeBit 2009 in March, Asus was already showing a tablet PC prototype with a double (touch) screen. It was one of the first products issued of its Community design initiative (www.WePC.com), launched together with Intel and aimed at using ideas from customers to create new products.
At CeBit, Asus was describing this new device like this: "The dual panel offers a flexible working space in which users can adapt to suit their prevailing usage scenarios, for example adjusting the size of the virtual touchpad and keyboard. Through hand gestures, handwriting recognition, and multitouch, users are presented with a control surface that is both flexible and intuitive. Users can use the dual-panel concept in a myriad of usage scenarios, for example as a conventional notebook with multitouch screens, a virtual keyboard and touchpad; a multimedia hub, in which both dual panels could combine to form a larger display for widescreen entertainment; or an E-book mode in which users can hold the dual panel concept notebook just like they would a conventional book while flipping pages through intuitive gestures or by touch."