Taiwanese vendors don't want to keep taking the tablets

While Asus made a huge song and dance about the introduction of its Windows EEE tablet yesterday, the word on the Fu-Xing Road came over loud and clear.

The runaway success of the Apple iPad does not necessarily translate into instant cash for Taiwanese ODMs and others, we were told on the Computex exhibition floor in Nangang earlier today. It’s a 10 minute ride from the old centre of Compusex excellence – it’s not very far at all. They’ve been around for a while. Plenty of them have been burned by the push to tablet PCs by Intel and Microsoft before – and fine words butter no parsnips the third time round.

The manufacturers don’t necessarily believe the hype from Intel, Microsoft and Apple anymore. They’ve been burned before, and won’t be again.

While plenty of the major companies – such as MSI and Gigabyte – aren’t saying that they won’t do tablets, they’d prefer to suck it and see rather than go into mass production on products that might not necessarily cause the racks of doubloons to mount.

An MSI executive, who declined to be named, showed TechEye a couple of concept machines. The tablet, if MSI decides to go with it, won’t be available until early 2011. Asustek is considerably more upbeat.

Nor are the vendors necessarily swayed by Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, saying tablets were the future yesterday, as we reported. Nor by his rather upbeat presentation where he said that 3D was the future.

We saw a number of 3D PCs – stereoscopic PCs as Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research (JPR) described them last week. He said they might take off and be a big hit by 2014. A number of vendors appeared to disagree. While they will have 3D PCs, they are also unsure about the amount of content and the standards involved in bringing them to market. And about the price of the glasses.

Nor are they bowled over by bold claims from ARM that tablets powered by its customers chips are the “way forward” either.

One chip designer who TechEye spoke to under conditions of anonymity said that whether it used an ARM chip or not, Windows was a prerequisite because the “vast majority” of people got Windows.

He claimed that although you could easily put together a fast and low power consuming chip with some very fast operating system based on Linux, only the wayward few wanted an iPad or the like.

He said: “After all, you can’t print out from an iPad. Paper is still important. The only way you can print out from an iPad is if you use a colour photocopier to print it out.”

The iPhotocopier does not yet seem to be with us, and so the Taiwanese vendors are taking the tablet hype with more than a deserved pinch of salt.