ASUS To Announce Quad-Core Transformer Tablet

Asus Transformer

Asus Chairman Jonney Shih provided a sneak peek at the company’s new quad-core Transformer tablet, poised to be unveiled Nov. 9. Just like the first Transformer, released about six months ago, the new Transformer Prime will be an Android-based tablet that can be transformed into a notebook by docking an external keyboard, which handily doubles up as an external battery pack.

The device, which is ever so slightly thinner than the iPad 2 at 8.3mm, will be powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor. It’ll sport a 10-inch display, USB port(s), mini-HDMI port and an SD card slot. At this point, it’s unclear whether the Transformer Prime will run Android Ice Cream Sandwich or its predecessor, Honeycomb.

Regardless of the platform, an external keyboard is always a plus for tablets, especially when the device is used for content creation. However, I suspect Windows 8, Microsoft’s attempt to unite tablets and PCs on one platform, will better suit the Transformer’s hybrid form factor.

Shih also said Asus will release the Padfone, running on Ice Cream Sandwich, in Q1 2012. Since Ice Cream Sandwich was built to accommodate both smartphones and tablets, it’ll be interesting to see how it will fare on a device that’s both.

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