Asus to fire back at iPad with Android tablet?

Asus has made a name for itself with netbooks. I remember when I first started writing about the Eee PC (before my time writing about it for DVICE), it was odd to think of a cheap computer as something super desirable. eMachines were cheap computers you bought your grandmother, but they didn't pack enough punch to do all the computing a tech-savvy person would want to do.

Fast forward to today: The Eee PC is the perfect companion to a student or traveler, and Jonney Shih, Asus's chairman, is credited as one of the key visionaries behind the netbook boom. Now he's got his sights set on a new target: tablets.

How does Shih view the tablet? "Netbooks are the best combination of personal computing and cloud computing," Shih told Forbes. "But between netbooks and smartphones and e-readers, we think there will be a space for something like a tablet or slate PC."

According to Shih, Asus plans to enter the tablet space with tablets that will run Google — meaning either the Chrome OS or Android — and Microsoft operating systems. Much like Apple's app-heavy approach, Shih sees content and media having "a very important role on tablets," adding, "The Google tablet will have a lot of media."

There is, of course, the looming behemoth that is the iPad to contend with. Apple proved with the iPhone that the company knows how to launch a new product and entrench itself in a market. Is Asus afraid, though? Nah — what, Shih worry? "Asus' culture originated from an engineering spirit with a focus on fundamentals and results," Shih told Forbes. "But a good engineer also has to master theory, architecture, innovation and aesthetics."

Expect to see more news from Asus on its upcoming tablets in June, when the company makes a big splash at Computex in its native Taiwan, one of the hotbeds for new netbook announcements — especially from these guys.

Forbes, via TFTS