Asus has been working hard behind the scenes, turning those Eee Pads first unveiled at Computex 2010 into four unique and distinct tablets, sporting a variety of form factors, specs, and operating systems. Perhaps more importantly, the Taiwan-based manufacturer, best known for popularizing the netbook, has grabbed early tablet headlines two days before CES 2011 officially opens on January 6th.
The four devices, which include the EP121 first unveiled last week, join the already-announced Asus Eee Note in the early 2011 Asus lineup, which, according to Asus Chairman Jonney Shih, “focus on the mastery of technological innovation and design perfection.”
Eee Slate EP121
First up is the Asus Eee Slate EP121, which is being heralded by Asus as “the most powerful tablet available.” The Slate EP121 features a 12.1-inch (1280 x 800), multi-touch capacitive display (two inputs, 178-degree viewing angle), and Intel Core i5-470UM processor, a 64 GB or 32 GB solid state drive, and either 2 GB or 4 GB of DDR3 system memory. In addition, the tablet has Bluetooth 3.0 and b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, HDMI out, an SD card slot, a 2.0 megapixel camera for video chat, and supports Adobe Flash 10.1.
The EP121 also offers a multitude of input options, be it through the multi-touch screen, a wireless Bluetooth keyboard, or the included Wacom digitizer pen.
Perhaps most intriguing, however, is that the Slate EP will be one of the new Windows tablets, running Windows 7 Home Premium. It will ship with a folio carrying case that doubles as a stand, a Bluetooth keyboard, and a Wacom Pen. The EP121 measures 12.28 x 8.15 x .66 inches and weighs 2.53 pounds.
Eee Pad Slider
Call it an elegant version of the old-school convertible tablets of yore, the Slider sports a 10.1-inch IPS multi-touch display with a QWERTY keyboard that can slide out from beneath, allowing the screen to be propped up at an angle.
Weighing in at 2.2 pounds with a six-hour battery life, the Slider will pack an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor, a 16 GB or 32 GB solid state drive, 512 MB or 1 GB of system memory, and will run Google Android OS 3.0, aka Honeycomb. The Slider will also feature Bluetooth and b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity with optional 3G, front- and rear-facing cameras, HDMI out, and a MicroSD card slot.
Eee Pad Transformer
Perhaps drawing inspiration from the long-delayed Lenovo U1 hybrid laptop, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer can be used by itself as a tablet, or to attach it to its portable docking station for access to a full QWERTY keyboard, extra USB ports, a card reader, and extended battery life. As a tablet, the Transformer gets approximately 8 hours of usage out of a single charge, and when docked, it can be used for up to 16 hours.
Under the hood, the Transformer will have an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor, a 16 GB or 32 GB solid state drive, 512 MB or 1 GB of system memory, and will also run Android OS 3.0. In addition, the Transformer will be equipped with a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, HDMI out, and will be Bluetooth and b/g/n Wi-Fi-ready.
Eee Pad MeMO
The Asus Eee Pad MeMO is the smallest of the bunch with its seven-inch screen, which makes it similar in size to the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It comes with a separate Bluetooth-based MeMIC media phone extender, giving the device call capabilities, as well as a capacitive stylus to be used with the touchscreen and the included Media Note and Painter applications, which have what Asus calls “hand writing capabilities” and “pressure sensitive input.” There is also an onboard mic for recording notes, which the MeMO can sync with Media Note.
Upon its release, the MeMO will run Android OS 3.0, aka Honeycomb, using a Qualcomm 8260 Snapdragon processor, which clocks in at 1.2 GHz. Aside from Bluetooth support, the MeMO will also sport Wi-Fi connectivity, front- and rear-facing cameras, a Micro-SD card slot, HDMI out, and 1080p video playblack at 30 frames per second.
Pricing and Availability
The Asus Eee Slate EP121 ranges from $999 to $1099 and will be available in early Q1. Pre-orders at Amazon start today.
The Eee Pad Slider will range in price from $499 to $799 and will be available in Q2. The Eee Pad Transformer will also be available in Q2, costing $399 to $699. Finally, the Eee Pad MeMO will cost $499 to $699 and will be available in Q2 or Q3.
The Asus booth will be one of the first stops for TabletPCReview once the show floor opens at CES 2011. Check back for a full hands-on report on the new Asus Eee Pads.
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