The success that Microsoft has enjoyed with their Surface tablet/laptop 2-in-1 has not gone unnoticed. We are hearing loud and clear that Asus is preparing to enter the fray to specifically take on the Microsoft Surface.
There are a few features that make the Surface somewhat unique or interesting. First, it has stylus support. Second, Microsoft created two different keyboards that snap onto the tablet/display and provide an ultra slim profile. Third, the Surface doesn’t skimp on hardware.
“In the first quarter we will have a new product that is similar to Microsoft’s Surface Book or Surface Pro.” – Asus CEO Jerry Shen, 3Q 2015 Investors Conference
Right now many manufacturers see the 2-in-1 market as a potential growth area. So far Asus has the Transformer Book Chi and Transformer Book T100 which are Windows based 2-in-1 devices. Even with those two products, Asus is preparing something even more interesting for the 2-in-1 market.
At the most recent Asus investors conference in November, we heard Asus CEO Jerry Shen talk about a new 10-inch product coming in Q1 2016 that he is very excited about. He described it as being like the Microsoft Surface Book and Surface Pro. Since that conference, we’re learning a few more tidbits about this mystery device (unconfirmed that this may be three new devices).
Here is what Digitimes recently wrote in regards to Asus:
Asustek is planning to launch three new 2-in-1s in March 2016 with similar designs to Surface, but cheaper prices and is looking to snatch a good share in the 2-in-1 market, which is expected to achieve at least 30 million units in the year. Asustek has already talked to Microsoft about the projects and therefore should not have any patent infringement issues.
Also in another recent Digitimes article, here is what they said about Asus:
Shen pointed out that Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are seeing increasing demand and Asustek plans to follow suit and launch three new devices with designs similar to the Surface 2-in-1s but with several improvement. These devices will also target the same market sector as the Surface, but they will be cheaper.
Asus has been able to excel at bringing products that are similar to the competition, but at lower prices to consumers. From what we’re reading, Asus will bring in a viable competitor to the Surface Pro 4 but at a much lower price. Based on track record, be confident that Asus will bring something at a remarkable price.
Asus ultimately perfected the 10-inch laptops thanks to the Eee PC and the netbook explosion from years past. They have also been able to make the best keyboards for that form factor. This should be encouraging for how Asus will create a keyboard cover that is similar to what the Microsoft Surface features.
If you go back a number of years, Asus had created the Eee Slate. It’s bigger at 12-inches but it was a beast in terms of power. It did also have stylus input and came with a bluetooth keyboard. It was a solidly built and performing tablet which in 2016 appears that it was ahead of its time. Asus definitely has the experience to pull off a Microsoft Surface competitor that can beat them at their own game.