CES got off to a roaring start this afternoon as Asus announced a series of innovations, some due for imminent market launch and some for the longer term.
Building on the success of its Eee PC, which has helped turn the company into a $22Bn business, it is now aggressively attacking the digital home space. Its new S121 is an ultrathin (sub 1”) notebook integrating a 512GB solid state drive.
The company also showed its new N20 netbook with touch screen display. Microsoft Virtual Earth was demonstrated, but unfortunately the computer crashed before the demo could be completed. But the logic of touch screen computing seems to be quite powerful if the glitches can be ironed out.
Also introduced was a dual-screen notebook. This is basically a standard notebook configuration, with a small 4.3” display integrated just below the keyboard and next to the touchpad. This is actually virtually a separate pocket PC device from the main notebook, although it shares the same battery. To demonstrate one application, a movie was played from the small PC onto the larger display. The benefit is that small PC requires much less power, giving the device a total of 12 hours playing time.
Asus also showed its T91 touch netbook with built in GPS and TV tuner.
Perhaps most startling was a Atom-based Windows Media Center computer designed to look exactly like a keyboard, which connects to any display device with ultra wideband HDMI technology. The keyboard PC has a small display built in. It is a concept at the moment, and displays today obviously do not have UWB HDMI capability built in, but other connection options would be possible.
Asus also introduced its Eee Top, an internet appliance for the digital home. Asus calls these products net tops.
CEO Johnny Shih said his company models itself on Apple. Judging from this press conference it is not unreasonable to imagine that Asus may have as much influence on digital consumer technologies in the next decade as Apple has had over the past ten years.
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