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.