While some observers may be ready to relegate the tablet race to Apple and Amazon followed by a pack of wannabes, Asustek Computer has high hopes for 2012. A report by Taiwan's Digitimes claims Asustek, which sells notebooks, netbooks and tablets under the Asus brand, expects to sell millions of tablets in the coming year.
Referring to what it said was information gleaned from Asustek's global sales meeting this week, Digitimes reports the company has set a bullish forecast for tablet sales. For 2011, Asus expects to ship 1.8 tablets.
Asus reportedly expects its tablet PC shipments to reach at least three million units, but has its sites on shipping as many as six million vaulting the company past competitors like Samsung.
It's worth noting that shipments is not the same as sales and there have already been a few high profile cases of dealers being stuck with hundreds of thousands of unsold merchandise, notably HP's ill-fated TouchPad, before the company embarked on fire sale pricing of $99. Likewise, Research in Motion has been forced to engage in a series of promotions to help dealers move unsold PlayBook inventory.
In any case, Asus is expected to be among the first to ship tablets running Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system designed for tablets, though it's unclear just when the highly touted next version of the Windows OS will be finished. It's currently available to developers and partners in prototype form. If Microsoft beats what many expects to be a fall, 2012 time frame for delivery, that could boost the prospects of companies like Asus to benefit next year.
Now that it's abanded the webOS-based TouchPad, HP is also expected to get behind Windows 8 in a big way. The computer giant is already shipping tablets running Windows 7.