Touch News Roundup: Ballmer Wants the “Sweet Spot”; ASUS Wants All Your Money

As iPhone pre-orders stream in by the millions, the tech world has turned its million-eyed gaze on the upcoming Windows 8 launches, as well as this little thing you may have heard about called the iPad Mini. So fill your head with the best touch news of the day while you mark off the days until that new iPhone arrives.

More Vague Hints on Surface Price as Ballmer Talks of “Epic” Year for Microsoft

Microsoft has been playing its cards close to the chest when it comes to the price of its Surface tablets, and previous media estimates have ranged as low as $300 and as high as $1000 and up. But in a recent sit-down with the Seattle Times, the Microsoft CEO said that the company wants to hit the “sweet spot” of the computer market, “probably $300 to about $700 or $800,” he said. (Seattle Times)

ASUS Sounds Own Death-Knell With $600, $800, and $1,300 Tablets

So much for Ballmer’s “sweet spot,” eh, ASUS? ZDNET was recently leaked details of ASUS’s holiday pricing strategy on three of the company’s Windows 8 tablets: The 10.1″ Vivo Tab RT ($599), the Vivo Tab ($799), and the Taichi ($1,200). These prices are astronomical when compared to Apple’s iPad or even other higher-end tablets. With what appears to be a more moderately-priced family of tablets coming from Microsoft in October, it is hard to understand how ASUS thinks it’s going to convince consumers to choose these pricey devices. (ZDNET)

Intel’s Clover Trail Atom Processor May Hate Linux, But Loves Battery Life

The next generation of Intel’s Atom processors has a suite of power-optimization features that will increase battery life and performance. The processor will likely be found in upcoming Windows 8 tablets, including Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet 2. According by Intel, Clover Trail should enable these tablets to deliver ten hours of battery life and a month or so of standby. The other major issue of the processor is that is completely eschews Linux support. (Ars Technica)

Square’s Keith Rabois Predicts Death of Registers Within 18 Months

Square made a name for itself by handing out the square, magnetic card readers that retailers could attach to iPhones and iPads. In an interview with All Things D, the company’s COO Keith Rabois said that nearly all retailers will be running their business off an iPad or comparable device in the near future. When pressed for a time frame, he estimated the change would occur in the next 18 months. “The era of standalone machines is over,” he said. (All Things D)