It seems that if you’re finally curious about taking the plunge and getting a tablet in 2011, you’ll have another option to consider –the “hybrid”.
We got our first glimpse at the latest hybrid at today’s ASUS launch, where the company unveiled the Eee Pad Transformer which aims to solve the one bugbear some people have with touchscreen devices – lack of real keys. Plug in the docking station and you have a QWERTY keyboard, along with extra battery life (ASUS is claiming up to 16 hours though you can take that with a grain of salt).
It’s also interesting for another reason – unlike the big 12.1 Eee Slate EP121 also unveiled today, the 10.1in Transformer is one of the first we’ve seen here at CES running Android 3.0 and Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor.
Up till now, the verdict on Android on tablets has been mixed – we’ve praised the features of devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but Android has seemed unpolished in comparison with the iPad’s iOS. The hope is that Android 3.0 will change all that, making Android the worthy alternative to the iPad that it has become on smartphones.
By day, an ordinary 10.1in laptop...
We assume this was meant to happen. The Eee Pad Transformer "detaches".
And we know it should be April at the latest by the time we see Android 3.0 devices arrive – that’s when ASUS says the Eee Pad Transformer will go on sale.
Other hybrids appearing this week at CES include the Lenovo LePad, as well as new sizes and features. Today ASUS also showed off a 7in tablet (the MeMO) arriving in June with dual cameras for video chat and the ability to play high definition video ($US499 to $US699), plus a version with a sliding keyboard dubbed the Eee Pad Slider arriving in May ($US499 to $US799).
Toshiba has also shown off an Android 3.0 tablet (running Tegra 2) while Motorola is expected to show off a tablet running Android 3.0 this week at CES.
With key features like video chat, screen sizes from 7in and up, and USB and memory card slots, the only question now is how polished Android 3.0 will be, and what Apple will do with the next iPad.
More gadgets from CES: We'll be digging into these, and other flat-out amazing gadgets and devices over the next few days on the site, so don't forget to check back for more.