ASUS Unveils Several New Devices Before CES
It had been speculated for a while that ASUS would show off some tablets at CES, and sure enough, it did, albeit a little bit before CES officially gets under way. ASUS has shown off not one but four separate devices at a CES press event, two being a tablet and two that are tablets with keyboards. One of the tablets is a 7 inch model while the other is a 12 inch model. The 12 inch model was teased at Computex in June of last year, and now it is official. It will be called the Eee Slate EP121 and will run Windows 7, unlike the other three which are Android devices. The Eee Slate EP121 will be powered by an Intel Core i5-470UM processor, either 2 or 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 32 or 64GB SSD. The 12.1 inch, capacitive touchscreen has a resolution of 1280x800 and is an IPS display, plus ASUS has packed in a Wacom digitizer which will let you take notes or even draw right on the screen. There is also a front-facing camera and HDMI output on the Eee Slate EP121, so it seems entertainment will be front and center on this tablet.
Next up is the 7 inch tablet, the Eee Pad MeMO, will be running Android 3.0 and feature a 1024x600 resolution touchscreen. A 1.2GHz Qualcomm 8260 processor will be powering the thing, plus there will be a front-facing 1.2 megapixel camera and a rear-facing 5 megapixel camera with LED flash on the tablet. What is interesting about the MeMO is it includes a capacitive stylus and two apps that feature it heavily. Media Note is a scrapbooking/note taking program while Painter will allow you to draw with the pressure-sensitive stylus. The Painter program has the most promise since the idea of using a pressure-sensitive stylus to paint on a tablet should make many artists (or hopeful artists) happy since the iPad requires you to paint with your fingers. There is also something on the MeMO tablet called the MeMic, which is a Bluetooth stereo headset, that ASUS hopes will help make the Eee Pad MeMO more like a phone. It will be interesting to see just how well that will work on this tablet.
The last two tablets are a curious breed, as each one pairs a keyboard directly with the tablet. Each of these tablets are running Tegra 2 and both have a 10.1 inch touchscreen, but its the way the keyboard is included on both that really sets them apart. First up is the Eee Pad Slider which has a slide out QWERTY keyboard that, when revealed, makes the screen angle up. It is packing Android 3.0 and features an IPS display with a 1280x800 resolution, as well as mini-HDMI and mini-USB ports and a microSD slot. There is also a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera and a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash on it. The Slider weighs in at 2.2 pounds and is 0.5 inches thick, so it is still fairly slim with that keyboard included. If you aren't too keen on having the keyboard permanently attached to your tablet, then perhaps the Eee Pad Transformer is more your style. It is practically the same as the Slider, but instead of integrating a keyboard, it features a dock with a keyboard built in to that. The dock includes a battery which will extend the life of the Transformer to 16 hours, while both the Slider and Transformer are expected to go for eight hours on the battery.
The Eee Slate EP121 is expected to launch later this month for $1,000. The Eee Pad MeMO will launch in June for $499. The Eee Pad Transformer and Slider will launch in April and May, respectively. The Transformer will run between $400 and $700 while the Slider will be between $500 and $800.