Asus, Dell: We're not exiting the Android tablet business

The companies respond to a report that they, along with Acer, are looking to phase out their tablet businesses.

Asus reiterated its commitment to the Android tablet business, refuting a report that said it, along with Acer and Dell, are looking to retreat after a rocky start.

Asus says it's sticking with its Android tablet business. Josh Miller/CNET

The company was responding to Taiwanese news site Digitimes, which cited suppliers in its report that the three PC manufacturers were looking to phase out their Android tablet businesses.

"As usual, the rumors and reports from Digitimes are incorrect," said Asus spokesman Gary Key. "Asus is not exiting the Android tablet business."

Likewise, a Dell spokesman said the company doesn't have any plans to exit the business either.

An Acer representative wasn't available for comment.

Regardless, the companies have all struggled to make a dent in the tablet business, which, beyond Apple's iPad, hasn't seen a second hit product. While it's still seen as a potentially hot area in consumer electronics, many companies have stumbled in an attempt to breach the market.

All three have taken their stabs at the market. Asus has its Eee Pad Transformer, Acer has its Iconia Tab, and Dell has its Streak. None of them, despite middling carrier support and a varying amount of marketing, has been able to draw in consumers.

To be sure, other mobile companies, including Research In Motion with its PlayBook, and Motorola with its Xoom, also have struggled in this business.

The hardware manufacturers are expected to face further pressure from the likes of Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Amazon's Kindle Fire sells for $199, undercutting all of its major competitors by a significant margin, while Barnes & Noble's Nook tablet is $250. Both companies are offering a cheaper product in the hopes that it will make money off the digital content ordered through the device. The hardware players have no such luxury, and can't afford to price their devices at such a level.

The potential of Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android designed for both tablets and smartphones, could provide a boost, though it's unclear who would succeed in such a crowded market.

The Guardian points out that the companies could be pulling back on resources for Android tablets as they focus on Windows 8, which will also run on tablets.

Updated at 12:01 p.m. PT: to include a response from Dell.

 

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