updated 05:11 am EDT, Sun June 8, 2014
Asus combines two Intel chips to create the Transformer V, Android-Windows hybrid
Electronista had a chance to get up close with the intriguing new Asus Transformer V at Computex Taipei. The Transformer V is, according to the Taiwanese PC maker, the world's first five-mode, three-in-one converged notebook. The Transformer V functions as a full Windows 8.1 notebook, Windows 8.1 tablet, Android smartphone, Android tablet and Android notebook. The way that Asus has executed the design is particularly interesting, as the device carries not one, but two Intel chips to get the job done.
If you're familiar with the products like the Asus' own PadFone range, you will know that the PadFone works by docking an Android smartphone with a tablet dock. The CPU resides in the smartphone, with the tablet coming to life as an Android tablet only when the smartphone is docked. Asus has adopted a similar approach here, taking it one step further by allowing users to turn the Transformer V into an Android notebook when the keyboard is attached. However, if you had hoped that in delivering the Transformer V that the company is delivering a dual-booting Android smartphone that also runs Windows Phone 8, you will be disappointed.
The Transformer V has two 'brains.' The 5-inch Android smartphone unit is powered by an Intel 'Bay Trail' 64-bit quad-core Atom chip clocked at 1.8GHz running Android 4.4. Windows 8.1 is pre-loaded on the tablet unit (unlike PadFone tablet docks, which have no CPU), which in turn is to be powered by an unspecified Intel Core processor. Given that Intel just announced the Broadwell-based Core M 'fanless' chip designed for applications such as this, there is a very good chance that this is the chip that will find its way into the Transformer V; particularly given its thin form factor.
As Asus has not announced a launch date for the Transformer V (in line with Intel's lack of specifics regarding the exact Broadwell launch date), there seems to be a better than 50-50 chance that the Transformer V will get a launch date when Intel's Broadwell-based Core M chip is official. If this is indeed the case, this will make for an extremely potent overall mobile computing package when it released at around the time the Intel Broadwell chips launch in the next couple of months. In terms of 'dual-booting' you will be able to get something like it when the smartphone is docked with the tablet, although both operating systems will be running natively on the tablet or smartphone respectively.
For people who use both Android and Windows, the Transformer V could be the best integration of the two technologies yet; or it could be something that Victor Frankenstein might have concocted if he had been into computing.
By Sanjiv Sathiah