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Asus Android tablets announced: prepare to drool

Alex T.
1

Today was the first day of CES 2011 in Vegas and while we all knew that plenty of dual core Tegra and Honeycomb rocking Android tablets would be dropping, Asus set the stage with an impressive offering that'll put the current generation of tablets to shame. They're competitively priced and spec'd and they'll hit the market in April/May supposedly. More info after the break.

If you'd kindly ignore the Eee Slate, a Windows 7  (yuk! I mean I like Win7 on my laptop but it's the least touch optimized thing ever), we've got the Pad Transformer, a 10 inch tablet with a (probably optional) attachable keyboard, the Pad Slider, a 10 incher with a slide out keyboard with gorgeous hinge design and the Pad MeMo, a 7 incher that competes with the Galaxy tab, lacking Tegra unlike its brethren. 

From pictures posted by Engadget you can also see that there's a pretty unfortunate looking UI overlay much like what the Advent Vega was showing off when it was launcher - call me unimpressed. The Email client as shown by Gizmodo also looks a little stuffed - sort of an iPad meet cartboard meet Maemo - not as clean as what Andy Rubin showed off on the yet unannouced Motorola Xoom during Dive into Mobile. I certainly hope Asus doesn't go the route of Archos or Motorola to lock out modders since I've yet to see a manufacturers heavily themed ROM outpacing an AOSP build, HTC Sence excluded.

One thing that I've been hoping for since seeing the XOOM and playing with the iPad and GTablet was for a compromise between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. The former is nice for browsing and reading, but most web video will occupy a minute proportion of the screen; the latter does video really well, but reading and scrolling in landscape are not so pleasant. The 1280x800 resolution of these things hints at 16:10 aspect ratio, the standard replacing 4:3 in laptops until 2-3 years ago when media became key. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not sure if that resolution will play nice with your current apps, but since the GTablet at 1024x600 (not a resolution most apps were designed for) played nice with any app thrown at it, I'm continuing to assume it won't be an issue. 

But let's get to the interesting part: the Transformer and Slider specs:

Remember, this is the one with the attachable keyboard so the weight and thickness are probably excluding the keyboard, but you'll be using it without most of the time anyway so they're not bad. This one seems not to have a USB port on the actual device, but if you look at pictures of it in the keyboard dock there is one on the dock. Also noteworthy is that, unlike the iPad keyboard dock, this one's got a hinge that'll permit adjustable angles as well as closing the device to get a 10" Android netbook that also protects the touchscreen. Also, with the device docked into the keyboard, it's supposed to get 16 hours of battery - nice!

This one comes with the keyboard neatly hidden below the display and a gorgeous hinge mechanism a-la Nokia E97. It's got the USB port build in (the spec sheet says 2.0, but it's blue so I think they mean 3.0, as rumored. Maybe it's not yet activated - OS update perhaps) but it's also 50% thicker and 30% heavier. They've both got Tegra dual-core processors, front and rear facing cameras, 10" IPS screens and 512 MB/ 1 GB RAM. No one seems to have snapped pictures of the MeMO Pad, but it's apparently got only a Snapdragon processor, 7" screen and the same rear and front facing cameras. 

Now let's see what else CES offers in the Android tablet space. 

Pictures: Gizmodo, Engadget

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    Alex T. Jan 5, 2011 Link

    OH. One more thing. If you look at the shots of the keyboards you'll notice an all too familiar one that shouldn't be there: a Windows key. In order to keep Photoshop jokes to a minimum I propose you respond with conspiracy theories instead. Go!

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