We opened our pre-coverage of CES 2010 with ASUS?s press conference in the Venetian hotel. It?s a foregone conclusion that press conferences are full of marketing spin and that PR personnel hope that you will view their company through rose colored glasses and this press conference was no aberration.
ASUS CEO Johnny Shih began by touting strong third quarter growth and the 3,200 awards ASUS garnered in 2009 – included five CES Design and innovation Awards. Possibly trying to get on the press?s good side, Shih also highlighted the improved media coverage at this year?s CES. It was no secret that ASUS is gunning to be a top three notebook provider by 2011. Conspicuously absent was even a passing mention of ASUS?s Republic of Gaming motherboard line [or any motherboards], display division or video cards. Shih stated that mobile computing – whether it is a mobile notebook, netbook or mobile smartphone – is the path ASUS is going to take going forward. As expected, Shih unveiled both products ready to go to market as well as some exciting prototypes. A quartet of notebooks were presented.
Shih promised no less than a complete revolution in the user-computer interface in the form of the concept of Waveface. Features of Waveface:
- Waveface smart search finds, filters and provides you with information at the right time
- Intuitive usability with gesture control
- Flat sharing mode for enhanced interaction
- Sync with Cloud [computing] to seamlessly store and access your information
Analysts and investors would be wise to gauge how the split between ASUSTeK and Pegatron affects ASUS R&D as ASUS appears to have some very ambitious goals over the next few years. A specific worry is whether or not the rift has watered down ASUS?s capabilities for innovation. Shih was sketchy on the details such as what operating system Waveface would run under but the technology is so new that it is understood that such details are not yet known. Also, when asked about the impact on the environment that the new U Series Bamboo collection Shih gave a roundabout non-answer that would make any wily PR wizard grin. Even so, there is clearly a paradigm shift from the previously prevailing view of the personal computer as a productivity tool to the notebook as fashion accessory. Considering that the North American and European notebook markets boast high product saturation, ASUS may have to caught on to the marketing that has made Apple so successful in retaining customers.
ASUS has two groups to convince with their new technology and vision – investors and most importantly of all, consumers.