Friday China Times reported that Asus plans to launch a Snapdragon-based smartbook sometime during Q1 2010. Asus CEO Jerry Shen made the announcement last week during an investor conference held in Taipei, revealing that the upcoming device will likely cost consumers around $184 USD. The company is hoping that the smartbook will define the category much like its previous Eee PC netbook kickstarted the current netbook frenzy.
The revelation is something of a 180 turn for Shen and Asus, as he made it clear earlier this year that there was no market for smartbooks. In fact, he said that the company had no (then) immediate plans to launch a device of that caliber. Obviously, that outlook has changed since then, and Asus is now looking to dominate a new frontier with its "secret weapon."
According to Shanzai, Shen said at the conference that Asus's cost competitiveness, speed, and innovation will be what propels the company in the forefront of the smartbook business. Currently the research and development team is busy innovating tablet-style products, smartbooks, and eBooks for the next six months in order to provide devices for Computex and CeBIT events.
As for the upcoming smartbook, Asus has not released its technical details, so hang tight until something official comes along.