While rumours of three new Apple iPhones are getting almost as much airplay as the new iPad 2, the tablet market looks set to make some major inroads into the PC mainstream in 2011.

The latest report from online source digitimes.com, Taiwanese notebook and PC component specialist ASUStek is planning on shipping up to two million tablet devices in 2011. That number would account for 10% of the tablet market, once the Apple iPad is removed from the equation.

The report says that Asus is set to join the ranks of 10.1-inch Android tablet devices with the launch of the Eee Pad EP101 in April. Similar to LG’s recently announced offering, the EP101 will feature Nvidia’s Tegra processor and run the new Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system. A second 10.1-inch tablet codenamed “slider” is expect to appear in May while a 3G-ready seven-inch tablet based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and the Honeycomb operating system could appear as soon as June.

While many Android tablets are already appearing on the market, it won’t be until the release of the first Gingerbread (Android 2.3) based models that we actually see what Android is capable of on this platform. Gingerbread will be the first Android operating system ready to handle screens larger than 854×480-pixels with rumours up to 1280×800-pixels is possible.

The news follows on from the release of LG’s Optimus Pad, offering 1280×768-pixel resolution in an 8.9-inch chassis, running the 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra II processor and Android Gingerbread operating system. The Optimus Pad also features dual-lenses for 3D video capture.

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