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In addition, the companies say their sleek devices can become full-fledged laptops when plugging them into a keyboard docking station for easy typing.

In terms of tablet prices, Apple’s big orders give it a huge edge, while South Korean Samsung Electronics is able to bring costs down by making key components in house _ an advantage denied local makers, said Simon Yang, an analyst with Taipei-based Topology Research Institute.

So far, the Taiwanese company with the best success in selling mobile devices is HTC Corp.

The company manufactured the first handset based on the Android operating system in 2008. It has since marketed a wide range of smartphones to meet different tastes, and has recently introduced a movie viewing program called “HTC Watch.” HTC’s sales jumped to 9.7 million handsets in the first quarter, up from 3.3 million a year earlier.

HTC’s first tablet, the 7-inch Flyer, sold well in pre-orders in Taiwan this month, vendors say. Its 16 gigabyte Wi-Fi version is priced at $499, the same as the 9.7-inch iPad. But HTC says its smaller-size device has an advantage, because it is lighter, and more manageable than the iPad.

By contrast, Acer and AsusTek have pursued a low-price strategy. Their Iconia Tab and Transformer models _ despite having larger 10.1-inch screens _ are priced at $450 to $500.

“Taiwanese companies are yet to become serious rivals to Apple,” said Yang. “They either price their tablets too high or sell them at a loss in order to become competitive.”

(This version CORRECTS Corrects research company name to IDC instead of CDC.)