updated 06:20 pm EDT, Wed April 13, 2011
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer priced, dated for US
An ASUS contact confirmed later on Wednesday that the Eee Pad Transformer would reach the US by the end of the month. According to those talking to in-transition tech blogger Joanna Stern, the trick Android 3.0 tablet should reach Best Buy and other stores for the rumored $399. Its trademark keyboard dock will cost a steep $150 but includes a second battery to push the battery life up to 16 hours.
The cost makes it not only $100 less than the iPad 2 it will likely compete against but $50 below the Acer Iconia Tab A500. Both of the Google-powered slates use a 10-inch 1280x800 screen, an NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, dual cameras, and 16GB of storage, suggesting ASUS has found a way to undercut its Taiwan rival on production costs while upping quality. Unlike the mediocre TN panel on the Iconia Tab, the Transformer is using a color-rich IPS panel closer to that on the iPad 2.
A low price for the Eee Pad Transformer suggests that earlier fears of Android 3.0 tablets failing to compete on price were unfounded. The Motorola Xoom's $800 3G price and even its $600 Wi-Fi price suggested that matching Apple's iPad 2 on price for similar features would be difficult. Samsung is facing the same problems as Motorola as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will cost the same as the iPad 2 only after the Korean firm backed away from an attempt to charge an arbitrary premium.