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Android infiltrates Computex via tablets, PCs, set-top boxes

Michael Kan and Agam Shah | June 7, 2013
New Windows PCs have always been the main attraction at Computex, the annual trade show in Taipei. But notable on the show floor this year is the growing presence of Google's Android OS, which is creeping into more and more tablets, televisions, set-top boxes and even PCs.

"The price is much lower than a Windows device," the sales rep said. The company says it receives about 30,000 orders for the products every two months.

Not only small vendors are turning to Android at the show. Big manufacturers like Asus and Acer have embraced the OS and showed Android computers alongside their Windows offerings this week.

Taiwan's Gigabyte Technology, perhaps best known for its PC motherboards, has been making smartphones since 2006. It started out with Microsoft's Windows CE, but like many handset makers it switched to Android. Gigabyte is showing three new Android smartphones at Computex that will launch in Eastern Europe in July.

Although there are consumer gadgets at the show, Computex is primarily a business-to-business event, where Taiwan's device and component makers can show off their latest products to global distributors and larger manufacturers.

Other Android products here include "rugged" tablets that can withstand dust, scratches, water, and being dropped to the floor. Aaeon, an Asustek company, is selling them mostly for military and industrial purposes. Its ruggedized 10-inch tablet is priced at around $1,000.

Shenzhen-based Hampoo is another specialized tablet maker, and hopes to mass market the first glasses-free 3-D Android tablet. The 10-inch screen will automatically switch into a 3-D viewing mode when playing a 3-D video. It will start shipping to distributors in the third quarter and reach end users in some parts of the world by the end of the year.

Taiwan's MiTAC International is building an Android smart watch. Called the Ulna, it offers five days of battery life and includes a built-in heart rate monitor. Using Android means it will be able to run exercise and healthcare apps built for the platform. The company hopes it will reach end users in worldwide markets by the first quarter next year.

 

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