Honeycomb finds itself on a double threat: Thin, light Android tablet doubles as a capable Android laptop
Is it a tablet? Is it a netbook? Is it a tablet? Is it a netbook? Is it a laptop? What, exactly, is the ASUS EeePad Transformer? Sitting here with it on my lap, typing away on the full keyboard, it's easy to forget that I'm using an Android Honeycomb tablet. With a keyboard. And a trackpad. Like a laptop. With Honeycomb.
So here's the general idea: The Transformer is a 10.1-inch tablet running Android 3.0.1, the most recently released version of Honeycomb. It's got a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor running at 1GHz. Sound familiar? It should, as those are specs shared by the Motorola Xoom, the first (and until now the only) available Honeycomb tablet. But the Transformer gets its name from the optional keyboard accessory. And it's not a Bluetooth keyboard. It's not using some janky tethering system. It's a full-fledged (if slightly undersized) laptop-style keyboard, complete with hinge, that turns the not-so-mild-mannered Android tablet into so much more.
We've heard it before -- tablets are killing netbooks. There's no reason to carry around a full-size laptop anymore. And so on and so forth. Neither statement is true. But whereas other tablet-keyboard combinations have come up short, the ASUS EeePad Transformer (henceforth to be referred to by its surname) is the most viable Android laptop we've seen yet. Our full review's after the break.
Here we go, folks, your first hands-on with the ASUS EeePad Transformer. It's an Android tablet. And an Android laptop. It's a Honeycomb tablet. And a Honeycomb laptop. Hell, we can't decide which to call it.
Fact of the matter is, the EeePad Transformer is one hell of an Android tablet and laptop, which is saying something considering the number of Honeycomb tablets out there, which isn't all that great.
Anyhoo, check out our hand-on video above and be sure to check out our further coverage.
Sometimes you just have to have that desktop experience. I use a laptop for my everyday computer. But when I can, I use it in the more traditional sense -- with a full keyboard and mouse -- plus a nice, big second monitor. And that's another feature that we're loving in the ASUS EeePad Transformer -- proper USB support.
The Transformer's got not one but two USB 2.0 ports for you to use on the keyboard dock. (There's another reason to shell out the extra $149, eh?) Friend or a co-worker have something to show you on a flash drive? Just pop it in. Want to use a USB keyboard or mouse? Go right ahead.
And it's that simple. You just plug them in, and they work.
So now that we've written a word or three (thousand) about the ASUS EeePad Transformer's life as a Honeycomb laptop, let's put it up against one of our old netbooks, the 10-inch ASUS EeePC 1000HE.
And what a difference a couple years makes, eh? On the Eee PC you've got an Intel Atom N280 processor at 1.66GHz. The EeePad Transformer sports an NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor. They've both got 1GB of RAM, but the Eee PC's can (and should) be upgraded to 2GB. And, of course, the Transformer runs Android 3.0 Honeycomb while the Eee PC sports Windows XP (or Windows 7 if you feel like upgrading).
The Eee PC wins in the storage department, with a 160GB hard drive. The Transformer has to make do with either 16GB or 32GB.
But it's the size that really knocks you out of the park. The Eee PC is downright portly when compared to the Transformer. It's like comparing a Macbook Air to that 7-pound monster laptop your day job forces you to carry around.
Toshiba has finally unveiled their 10.1 inch Honeycomb tablet, dubbed the Toshiba Regza AT300 -- at least in Japan. It's the same delicious bit of hardware we got to play with at CES, and have seen plastered all over Newegg.com as the Toshiba "Ant". The tablet packs a Tegra 2 and a full 1 GB of RAM under the hood, has both full-size and mini USB ports, HDMI out, and now we learn it will integrate with Toshiba's other Regza products, like Televisions and Blu-ray players.
The Regza AT300 is scheduled for a June release in Japan, checking in at 60,000 Yen -- or about $720. That's a bit higher than the previous pricing of $449 - $579 we've seen, but we can't base US pricing on the Japanese model. No word on when to expect this in the west, but we certainly hope it isn't too far off. Hit the break to see our hands-on. [Toshiba (Japanese) via Mobile Burn]
Excuse me, Australian readers. If you're looking for a distraction from kangaroo boxing and boomerang throwing, you'll be happy to know that as soon as May 2011, Telstra will be launching the Motorola XOOM.
Exact pricing and launch dates are scant, but if it's your cup of tea, the full presser is after the break.
And for those planning on picking up a XOOM, I'm sure I don't have to remind you, but be sure not to let the dingos take it. [Motorola]
Initial stocks of ASUS's new EeePad Transformer hybrid device have sold out, according to multiple sources. The Honeycomb-powered tablet/notebook briefly went on sale in the UK earlier this month at an insanely-reasonable price of £380 (~$610) for the tablet alone, and £430 (~$690) for the tablet and laptop dock.
A post on the manufacturer's Facebook page confirms the "first 2-3 batches" sold out much faster than they had planned. ASUS advises customers to watch their local ASUS Facebook page for updates on future availability. [ASUS Eee on Facebook, CNET]
So the question is will US Cellular be moving a Wifi-only version, or something will the regional carrier's data? We should find out sometime in the next couple months or so if this screen's any indication. Thanks, anon!
Some of you might remember our last look at the revamped Galaxy Tab 10.1, but our first impressions were a bit limited, as Sammy kept their biggest tablet behind bars (well, a box, actually).
Times have changed, though, and Samsung has loosened up a bit, allowing the Tab 10.1 to get a full hands-on as well as a side-by-side comparison with the iPad 2.
Everything is in Vietnamese (except for Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" in the background), but if you listen closely, you can pick out a choice word here and there. At any rate, check out the video and enjoy! Thanks, Kevin! [via the Android Central Forums]
Tell us this isn't the Toshiba ANT. Somebody please tell us the little beauty we got our paws all over (thus the fingerprints) at CES at isn't called the Toshiba ANT. But according to a trio of listings on NewEgg, you're looking at the Toshiba ANT 100, 102 and 104.
But we're guessing that's not actually the name. ANT could just too easily be a placeholder for Toshiba ANdroid Tablet. ANT. Or maybe Toshiba's being cute. But we kind of hope not.
The pricing? Well, that's another matter. There are 8GB, 16GB and 32GB versions listed, at $449, $499 and $579, respectively. That's a little higher than what we'd like to see from what we assume will be Wifi-only versions, but remember we're still pretty early in the life of Honeycomb hardware.
Anyhoo, if any of this is starting to whet your appetite, we've put our hands-on from CES after the break of the likely still unnamed tablet. [NewEgg via Laptoping, Engadget] Thanks, Bethany!
OK, folks. Last chance to win! To celebrate 1 million downloads of their SwiftKey keyboard app, TouchType is giving away a tablet each to THREE lucky winners! Which tablets? Whichever the winner chooses so long as they're available for purchase for up to $800 where he or she lives. iPad 2, PlayBook, Xoom, Galaxy Tab are all on the table.
How do you enter? TouchType has put together a small survey which shouldn't take more than five or ten minutes to complete. That's it - well, that and a quick perusal of the official entry rules just to make sure you're eligible (sorry minors and SPE employees). The contest is open to readers of Android Central, CrackBerry.com, TiPb, and WPCentral and ends at midnight tonight April 14.
Not familiar with TouchType? You may have also seen that TouchType made a splash at this year's CTIA with their tablet keyboard for Honeycomb - that's coming soon, but SwiftKey is available now for Android devices.
So get cracking on the survey, folks - these tablets aren't going to give themselves away.
Motorola has announced further availability of its Xoom and Atrix as the two devices will be launched throughout Latin America starting 'mid-April'.
They will be launching on 'leading' carriers in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Which carriers in particular will carry the devices have not been announced.
Quote from Motorola Mobility:
“Latin America continues to be important to our company’s global strategy, which is why we’re bringing the region our most ground-breaking products,” said Maurizio Angelone, vice president and general manager Mobile Devices Latin America, Motorola Mobility. “We’ve received an exceptional response for Motorola XOOM and Motorola ATRIX from consumers and carriers in our U.S. and European markets, and we want to build the same excitement in Latin America.”
This is great news for consumers in any of the aforementioned countries who have been waiting patiently for the Xoom and the Atrix to come their way. [Motorola]
Motorola Xoom kernel developer and hero of the hour bigrushdog has released the latest version of the Tiamat kernel for the Xoom -- with SD card support. It's not perfect (you can't swap cards without a reboot) but it's as close as can be expected with no OS source code (cough), and before any mention of the "official" fix from Motorola. And you don't even have to send your Xoom away for two weeks to have it. Besides SD card support, the Tiamat kernel has other customizations like USB Host mode, OpenVPN support, and Microsoft Windows Netshare support.
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