Never mind coming up with a stonkingly good mobile OS that can take it on feature for feature and win, what you actually need to topple the iPad from its perch is a “secret weapon”.
Luckily for us, Asus has just such a thing – or so chairman Jonney Shih insisted in a recent interview. Of course, being a secret weapon we're not being given anything much by way of details to go on just yet, but it's sure to get the rumour mill churning away regardless.
In an interview with IDG News Service, Shih – always good for a few quotable nuggets of tech wisdom – revealed that the mystery Asus munition would stand apart from the bevy of tablet-like gadgets it showed off recently at CES. However, while boasting of insider knowledge on the iPad 2, he didn't quite confirm whether Asus' response would be a direct rival to the Apple tablet or another interesting hybrid trying to break new ground.
“Well, we already know some of the details of [the iPad 2], such as what kind of processor they chose,” Shih claimed. “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.” When pressed as to what form factor the device would take, Shih responded: “I think it's best not to say now. You will have to wait until the launch.”
While you could argue that this was a case of saying much without really saying anything at all, let's not forget that Asus has previous form with this sort of thing. After all, this is the company that turned mobile computing on its head and singlehandedly created the netbook genre with the Eee PC. And while its latest slew of unusual tablets shown off at CES are unlikely to prove market-leaders, their very existence speaks of a company not afraid to innovate – successfully or otherwise.
Shih also repeated opinions expressed elsewhere that the operating system landscape had reached saturation point, and that only a few key contenders would survive the cull that's inevitably coming.
“In this new era of personal cloud computing, you need to have the platform and it has to be big enough,” Shih commented. “It is already clear that the iPad-iPhone (iOS) will be one camp and Android will be another camp and Windows will be another camp. It's not that easy to have other camps. From my observation, I think it is possible, but it will be quite difficult.”