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Q&A: Asustek chairman vows 'secret weapon' for iPad 2

By Dan Nystedt
February 3, 2011 10:56 AM ET

IDG News Service - The chairman of Asustek Computer, Jonney Shih, noticed the growing thirst for mobile computing early on. When he challenged his engineering teams to design a new, more mobile computer, they came up with the netbook, a mini-laptop with extended battery life designed to keep people connected to the Internet while on the go. Netbooks became a global phenomenon.

Now, the company's product, the Eee PC line of netbooks, faces a threat from tablets such as Apple's iPad. Shih sat down with the IDG News Service to talk about how his company will face the next generation of Apple's popular tablet, iPad 2, with a "secret weapon" to be unveiled when the time is right.

chairman of Asustek Computer, Jonney Shih
Asustek Computer Chairman Jonney Shih gestures during a speech at CES in Las Vegas in January.

He also discussed the second wave of the computing revolution, predicting ever more mobility. He said only three mobile OSes will survive the current battle for users, and that companies, including Asustek, will have to find new ways to provide online services to customers.

Asustek launched four new tablets at the International CES in Las Vegas this year, yet everyone expects Apple to launch the iPad 2 at any time. What does the new iPad mean for all the tablets coming out now? Won't it make them obsolete? Well, we already know some of the details of that device, such as what kind of processor they chose... We very carefully chose our tablet processor, the Nvidia Tegra 2, and to really compete it will take [Apple] some time. You know, [Nvidia] is well known for graphics.

Also, we will try to provide a "secret weapon," something we have not shown at this time but closer to the launch time we will show.

Is the secret weapon a component or a new tablet? I think it's best not to say now. You will have to wait until the launch.

On to trends. What will be big in 2011? Toward 2011, I definitely think it is going to be a booming time for personal cloud computing. The past 30 years was the personal computing era. The next stage is in personal cloud computing and I think the beauty is it's not only one OS. It will be a few OSes but each will have to be big enough.

They will have to think about the best user experience and what is the best balance between personal computing and cloud computing. It's not that easy because some people say everything should be on the Web, like Chrome, and some features on Chrome are good. I think Microsoft should learn from that and put a lot of legacy on the Web and make it light but I think for many other things you really need to do it on the personal computing side.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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