Asus unveils dual touchscreen 'flipbook'

Asus has launched an array of new Eee PC branded products at CeBit 2009, but it was a dual - touchscreen Flipbook PC concept that caught the attention as chairman Jonny Shih outlined his vision for the company.

Concept prototypes are always likely to bring an outpouring of joy - and a dual-screen touch PC was a major highlight in Asus' keynote presentation to CeBIT in Germany.

Aside from Eee PCs aplenty, the to-be-expected new ranges of eco-friendly LCD monitors, beefy gaming and Lamborghini-branded power notebooks and new products serving the small business user, one of the biggest innovations on show from Asus at CeBit 2009 was a new dual-screen computer prototype.

Shih noted that users of such a device might want to use it as a laptop, an e-book reader or a multimedia machine to consumer movies, music and tunes.

The device is firmly at the early concept stage in development, but the units on the showfloor were running Windows 7. Many of those checking out the concept at CeBit are also still to be convinced by the use of an on-screen keyboard, although there really is not reason why Asus couldn't just throw in the option of hooking up a regular wired or wireless keyboard to such a device (or an Eee Keyboard PC for that matter!).

Eee's are good

Shih also insisted that he did not believe Asus' powerful Eee brand was limited to the low-cost netbook principle that pushed it to the fore.

"Eee PC is not just a low-cost netbook concept," Shih told the assembled media at CeBit, nailing home the message that it was about finding the balance between "value, innovation and cost," and considering the many ways in which the PC is "proliferating into different digital devices."

Celebrating the company's 20th birthday, Shih unveiled Asus' new branding slogan "Inspiring Innovation – Persistent Perfection" alongside a slew of new Asus and Eee PC branded products.


The obligatory sales figures wheeled out in Shih's presentation were indeed impressive, showing how Asus' has grown rapidly, particularly over the last ten years, to become Europe's third biggest notebook brand in the last quarter of 2008, after HP and Acer, with its Eee PC range largely responsible for the company's recent growth spurt.

However, the Asus Chairman is still not happy. He thinks the company has to find that perfect balance between pushing innovation and providing customers with the maximum value at the lowest cost.

When asked about Asus' take on the global economic crisis, Shih noted that: "Even in tough times, differentiation and innovation is important," and added that, "the financial crisis gives us the realisation that we haven't done enough yet" in terms of finding that sweet spot balancing point between value and cost.

"The positive side [to the credit crunch] is that Asus will be able to achieve a better balance," said Shih, adding, bullishly, "we still plan to grow better than the industry average – both in terms of revenue and in terms of driving innovation."

Adam Hartley