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Asus Eee Pad, iPad Competitor, Unveiled

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan's AsusTek Computer Inc. unveiled Monday a portable tablet computer that runs on Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, joining a slew of manufacturers trying to tap demand for the sleek devices following Apple's launch of the iPad.

AsusTek is among several Taiwanese computer makers to display tablet PCs at the five-day Computex Show in Taipei that opens Tuesday.

Acer Inc., the world's second largest PC vendor, unveiled last week a 7-inch touchscreen tablet that like many other coming models runs on Android, the operating system that Google is distributing for free for mobile devices.

AsusTek's touchscreen tablet, with the name of Eee Pad, comes in 10- and 12-inch sizes and is set to go on sale in the first quarter of 2011.

In addition to full Windows support, Company Chairman Jonney Shih said Eee Pad is equipped with a Web camera and runs Flash by Adobe Systems which will allow users to view YouTube and other video programs on the Internet.

The 10-inch Eee Pad will sell for $399 to $449. No price tag was given for the 12-inch model.

By contrast, Apple's iPads cost $499, $599 or $699 depending on the data storage capacity. But iPads use the HTML5 standard and its lack of Flash support has alienated some users.

AsusTek also unveiled on Monday an e-notepad that serves as both an electronic-reader and note-taking device, with a built-in camera that will let the user grab screenshots of lecture slides.

Shih said the notepad – with a price tag of $199 to $299 – turns pages at a faster speed and does not cause as much eye-fatigue during lengthy reading as other e-readers.

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