ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Android tablet (preview)

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer: A 10.1in Android 'Honeycomb' tablet that boasts an optional, detachable keyboard dock accessory

Most Android tablets seem to look and feel like very similar devices, but the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer attempts to add some much needed variety to the tablet market. The Eee Pad Transformer is a 10.1in Android 'Honeycomb' tablet that boasts an optional, detachable keyboard dock. When attached to the dock, the Eee Pad transforms from a tablet into a notebook-style device.

Check out our guide to the best upcoming tablets in 2011.

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer offers all the features and functions of most other Honeycomb Android tablets, but the optional keyboard dock is what sets it apart from the competition. The Eee Pad Transformer's keyboard dock has two USB ports, an SD card slot and a trackpad, as well as its own built-in battery. ASUS says that this battery offers an additional six and half hours of use. If both the tablet and the keyboard dock batteries are fully charged, ASUS says the Eee Pad Transformer will draw power from the keyboard dock first to preserve power for tablet-only use. When connected, the tablet folds over onto the keyboard dock, and acts like a regular notebook.

Disappointingly, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer without the optional dock doesn't have a USB port or even a micro USB connector. The only ports on the tablet itself are a standard headphone jack, a mini-HDMI port for direct connection to a compatible high-definition television or projector, a microSD card slot, and a proprietary ASUS connector that doubles as a USB and charging port. So although the Eee Pad Transformer's dock is an optional accessory, using the tablet without it does take away some key features — most notably full-sized USB ports.

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer runs the latest version of Google's Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' software, which has specifically been designed for tablet devices. Key features of Android 3.0 Honeycomb include tabbed Web browsing, support for 3D graphics, added enterprise features like encrypted storage, a redesigned keyboard, and a new interface that aims to take advantage of the larger-sized tablet screen. The Eee Pad Transformer also supports Adobe Flash Player for viewing Web video and will be upgradeable to future versions of the Android platform.

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is powered by a 1GHz dual-core, NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, it has 1GB of RAM, and it comes with either 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. It also has two digital cameras on board: a front-facing, 1.2-megapixel camera that acts as a webcam for video calling, and a 5-megapixel camera on the rear that takes still photos and records standard definition video. The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is initially a Wi-Fi only tablet, though a version with 3G connectivity is likely to come at a later date.

Australian pricing and availability of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is yet to be announced, but the device is expected to be available in stores by June.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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