The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is quickly becoming the darling of the Android tablet world. With all the specs (dual-core, Android 3.0, keyboard dock - the list goes on) and a price tag at $400, this may just be the one Honeycomb tablet to rule them all. Alas, when a great product and a great price meet, there is great demand - and when there is great demand and a less-than-great supply level, there is a high level of dejected customers leaving their electronics retailers with empty hands.

The low shipment volumes of the Transformer have been news for the last couple of days, with as low as 10,000 units being moved per month. There has been a fair bit of speculation as to why ASUS isn't pumping out more of these tablets to capitalize on the popularity and hype that lead to Best Buy selling out their stocks in short order.

There are now two primary theories as to why production is so low, the first of which involves component shortages. CrunchGear (via a German netbook website in contact with individuals close to ASUS) is reporting that a shortage of components, no word on which one(s), is the reason that the Taiwanese producer is unable to hit the 300,000/month target they had originally set. This shortage may be the result of another, rather significant, tablet maker. Suppliers for tablet manufacturers are stating that Apple is buying up a large share of tablet components for their iPad 2.

The second theory is one that centers around ongoing testing. Thinq got in contact with John Swatton, marketing manager at ASUS, to ask him about the supply shortages. When commenting on the situation, he claimed that production has not slowed at all, but rather testing is to blame for some initial delays.

Various sources are saying that production has slowed, this is untrue. Production has been increasing steadily since the first shipments left the factory, and we will continue to see increasing quantities delivered to UK retailers... We have implemented a number of additional testing procedures for the Eee Pad Transformer to ensure an unrivalled user-experience. This has resulted in delays to a number of shipments"

So there you have it, from the horses mouth. The rumor is that component shortages are to blame, but the official word is that it is merely testing and the shipments will be hitting full stride shortly. I am choosing to believe the official word at this point, as it would be too painful to see this beautiful device banished to the land of Unicorns or Bionics because of a shortage of parts.

via CrunchGear, Thinq, Electronista

Zak Stinson
Zak is a neuroscience student residing in the bread basket of Canada. When not reading or writing Android news, he has been known to partake in dangerous backyard science experiments he is nowhere near qualified to perform. He also loves Thai food.

  • PL

    Funny, but this possible quality control issue made me instantly think of the transformer tablet some fellow received that happened to still have android 2.2 (or 2.3).

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Indeed, that must have been a buzz kill.

    • Adnoxaei

      That story of the 2.2 on that transformer made me wonder if they were trying to boost the number of tablets they ship by dipping back into preproduction and development models for parts. Sounds like they are having some serious shortage issues. The fact that one made it out with 2.2 shows the quality control issues. Maybe both stories are combining to make production difficult.

      With that said, mine has been shipped and is in transit :-) now I just need the dock to ship. I hope it doesn't take an eternity for that to happen.

  • http://www.netbooknews.com Sascha Pallenberg

    Hi guys,

    i am the source of the component shortage news. I live in Taipei and it's not only a rumor that ASUS just can't get all the components. Local distributors shared the numbers of the units they received with me. I got back to my contacts at Pegatron and ASUS to get to know what the problem is... it's component shortage!

    The quality management is pure bogus because softwarewise everything is finished for months! This is just PR blah blah

  • Shaneaus

    The rumor is that the fruity company bought all available ipad related tablet components in Japan the day after the tsunami hit. Then when other tablet manufacturers placed their orders for those components that were shared... There was no stock. That is why the shipping numbers will start to go up as Asus received more components. The software issues are being addressed through ota updates. They did have an issue with an update which was piled and if being fixed. But, that shouldn't effect the number of devices being shipped.

    • http://mobiledeviceinsight.com Kevin Taylor

      The components were allocated last Oct to Dec, long before the tsunami.

  • http://mobiledeviceinsight.com Kevin Taylor

    If testing was an issue they would just add resources need to meet capacity within a week, also the test equipment for these devices is pretty simple PC based fixtures.

    I agree with Sascha it is component issues and I wonder how long these "shortages" have been expected and yet they launched anyway.

    Not a wise move, the executives making decisions at ASUS seem to have a disconnect with expectations by EMEA and US customers and the long term impact to their brand.

    That's ok though :-) the only brand the customers will be interacting with is Android Honeycomb anyway.

  • Max

    Test Cycle does no hurt the Manufacturing process. It can deplay the process, but not slow it down.

    Once you have your OS avaliable for 1 tablet you have it available for 300,000 tablets. It makes no difference.

    I can see it might take longer to get updates out.

  • Someone

    I wonder if there's a shortage of some Japanese electrolytic capacitors.