Asus preps Android-powered Eee Pad tablet for launch

Asus looks to be the first of many PC builders to take on Apple’s iPad in coming months.

The Taiwanese tiger will use the annual Computex trade show to unveil its new Eee Pad slate which will combine Nvidia’s ARM-based Tegra processor with the Android OS.

The Eee Pad is expected to sell for US$480-510 and will be bundled with 3G access by local telcos. Broader retail release is tipped for Q3.

Taiwan trade publication DigiTimes reports that the Eee Pad will include a USB port integrated webcam and support for Adobe Flash and that Google is working with Asustek to enhance the Android OS to suit the touchscreen tablet.

In an interview earlier this year with Forbes
Asustek chairman Jonney Shih said that he considered
“netbooks are the best combination of personal computing and cloud
computing but  between netbooks and smartphones and e-readers we think
there will be a space for something like a tablet or slate PC.”

Asus expects Eee Pad shipments to  reach 300000 units by year’s end but allows that the device would also reduce netbook demand by 10-20 percent.