Asus leads the tablet war against Apple

Asustek is apparently the largest, non-iOS tablet vendor – with shipments totaling a fairly healthy 400,000 units during the first half of 2011. 

Indeed, Asustek’s $400 entry-level tablet PC has apparently boosted demand in the US, prompting the company to prep a second-gen EEE Pad Transformer.

According to DigiTimes, the upcoming tablet – expected to launch in late 2011 – will be powered by Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 and run Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s next-gen Android operating system.

Asus is also expected to introduce its Eee Pad Slider in July ($650-$800), and its 7-inch Eee Pad MeMO 3D in Q4 2011 along with the Padfone, which runs Ice Cream Sandwich and features an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip. 

In addition, Asus may debut a Tegra 3-equipped notebook running Google Chrome at the end of 2011.

While offloading 400,000 units to consumers eager for more Honeycomb goodness is certainly an impressive feat, Android tablet vendors such as Asus certainly have a ways to go before competing with Apple on a level playing field.

As DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim notes, the Android universe is experiencing “growing pains,” with Honeycomb being only one of the many “challenges” the rapidly evolving ecosystem is slowly overcoming as it attempts to challenge iOS. 

However, the analyst emphasized that the next major iteration of the operating system – dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich – would attempt to bring all Android categories (smartphones, tablets and TVs) under a single version of the OS.

“This will help to potentially increase the number of applications that can run on the different platforms, with the idea that if you develop software for one platform, it will be able to run on others. This will certainly help to drive interest in the platform for developers and consumers.

“[Nevertheless], retail challenges still exist and may be getting worse as channels that aren’t accustomed to selling technology are making a go at the tablet market with limited success,” Shim cautioned.