Firms tout their new e-tablets

MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO — The tablet fad kicked off by Apple Inc.’s iPad turned into a frenzy this week, as a host of manufacturers unveiled their version of the new computing device at a tech trade show in Taiwan.

With the iPad topping the two million mark in terms of unit sales, tech companies such as Asustek Computer Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. unveiled new products at the Computex trade show aimed at what has become the hottest new consumer category.

“Apple paves the way for other companies to follow,” Ticonderoga analyst Brian White said in a phone interview. “Apple is opening up a new market. There’s going to be many, many competitors.”

Qualcomm announced that it was demonstrating new devices based on its Snapdragon chipset platform, including new tablets from Dell Inc. and Huawei.

Last week, Dell had unveiled its Streak tablet in the U.K., based on a Qualcomm processor and Google Inc.’s Android operating system. The company said the device will be made available in the U.S. later in the summer.

Qualcomm also said it was demonstrating a Huawei tablet, dubbed S7. The company said it was also showing off new mobile devices, including smart phones and smart books, based on its microprocessor technology.

Meanwhile, Asustek of Taiwan introduced its tablet device, dubbed Eee Pad, based on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system and Intel Corp.’s processor technology.