updated 11:50 pm EDT, Fri April 13, 2012
10-incher will use quad-core, ICS, LTE
ASUS will launch its latest flagship tablet, dropping the "Eee" moniker but gaining a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, in the US on April 22nd, PCWorld reports. The 10.1-inch Transformer Pad 300 will run Google's Android 4.0, and act as a successor to the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, a name that is being retired even before the court case Hasbro brought over the name has been settled. The new model is said to be similar but lower-priced.
The unit is offered with an optional Android-specific keyboard dock that can incorporate an extra battery, boosting battery life to up to 15 hours from the standalone unit's 10-hour claim. The figure rivals the real-world testing for Apple's iPad, though it may only apply to the Wi-Fi model whereas Apple's 10-hour figure has been verified to include 3G and 4G use.
Pricing hasn't been announced, but wholesale "warehouse" retailer BJs is taking preorders at $400 for a 32GB model, though that's likely to be for Wi-Fi only (but still compares favorably to the $500 price for a similar model iPad 2). Earlier reports suggested that the base 16GB model would retail for $379, and the add-on keyboard dock would sell for $150.
The Transformer Pad 300 features 1GB of RAM and a screen resolution of 1280x800 -- higher than the iPad 2 but well short of the new iPad's 2048x1536 resolution. Electronista staff were able to get some hands-on time with the Transformer 300 at February's Mobile World Congress in February and found it to be similar in functionality and speed to the Transformer Prime, but with the advantage of running Ice Cream Sandwich.
Separate models will be available with Wi-Fi only, Wi-Fi and 3G or Wi-Fi and 4G LTE. Pricing for the various models isn't yet available. The unit features a micro HDMI port for wired connection to HDTVs, a microSD card reader for expanded storage, and offers a front-facing 1.2 megapixel camera and an eight megapixel rear camera.
A deluxe, higher-priced model, the Transformer Pad Infinity, will offer similar specs but a higher resolution 1080p display. A hands-on test of that unit showed it to be a bright (using a SuperIPS+ screen), attractive higher-end tablet running a Snapdragon S4 for better LTE compatibility. When paired with the $150 keyboard dock, it proved a versatile and full-featured Android tablet-cum-notebook. A release date for the Infinity has not yet been announced. [via PCWorld]
Transformer Pad Infinity