No doubt about it, Computex 2013 is the Asus show. Even though Intel is using the Taiwan tech event to announce it fourth-generation Haswell processors, it’s Asus, and the dozen-plus products it announced that is generating the most buzz. And it’s not because Asus is on home turf, but rather, it’s once again demonstrating its well-earned reputation for innovative and unique products, at least with one of its unveilings.
To be clear, much of what Asus announced this week will likely never see wide release in the States, and some may never ship at all. Look no further than the Asus PadFone series for evidence of that, or perhaps the glasses-free 3D MeMo tablet it unveiled at Computex 2011, which ultimately became vaporware.
Transformer Book Trio
Hybrid designs are rather common these days, as are dual-boot systems. But the common criticism of both is that these systems are typically two mediocre devices (bulky tablet and under-powered notebook, for example), instead of one good machine. Asus is hoping to change that with its three-in-one Transformer book trio.
It’s a desktop, tablet, and notebook. That means it’s a transformer, or tablet with removable keyboard. The keyboard doubles as a desktop system when paired with an external monitor, the display doubles as an Android tablet, and combined they form a Windows 8 notebook Gigabyte tried something similar with a one-piece Windows unit a few years ago with predictably poor results, but Asus seems determined to avoid that mistake by outfitting its Transformer Book with a top-of-the-line fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor based in the keyboard, and a respectable 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 for the Android portion in the screen. This machine has two batteries and two storage capacities (750 GB HDD in the keyboard, 64GB in the display), and an 11.6-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS display.
Because it runs Android Jelly Bean and the full version of Windows 8, it can run virtually every application, or more than 750,000 taking the full catalog of Windows 8 and Android apps into consideration.
Asus has yet to announce pricing, but don’t expect this to be cheap, given its unique feature set and decent spec sheet. In fact, Asus is keeping it under glass at Computex, so there’s good chance it might not hit its Q3 launch window. If it does, it will be the only mainstream three-in-one system available, which likely pleases Asus.
The Asus Answer to the Note
While TechnologyGuide can see the Transformer Book Trio possibly shipping to the US in some limited capacity, the Asus Fonepad Note FHD 6 will almost certainly not. It won’t support LTE (its Intel Atom processor is not compatible), and will instead support HSPA+ for data and 3G for voice, which is widely-used overseas. Also unlike the Transformer Book Trio, the Fonepad Note is not that unique. At a glance, it could double for the a Galaxy Note 2, complete with rear-docking stylus.
The Fonepad Note is actually bigger than the Galaxy Note 2, as it has a 6-inch 1080 x 1920 Super IPS+ display, which puts it at the large end of the current phablet spectrum. It also has 2GB of RAM, front-facing speakers, 1.2-megapixel front-facing and 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras, and it runs Android.
We still don’t know which version of Android, nor do we know the stylus technology (the Galaxy Note sports Wacom), or even if Asus will choose to include any apps to take advantage of that stylus, because like the Transformer Book, Asus is keeping the Fonepad Note behind glass at Computex.