Asus' mammoth tablet, desktop hybrid combines Android, Windows 8

The Transformer AiO all-in-one can be either an Android tablet or a Windows 8 desktop

Asustek has announced it will soon begin U.S. shipments of an all-in-one PC that can be an Android 4.1 tablet, or a fully functional desktop running Windows 8 when attached to a docking station.

The Transformer AiO will become available early in the second quarter starting at US$1,299, Asus said in a statement. The company did not immediately comment on worldwide availability.

The 18.4-inch tablet weighs 2.28 kilograms and is oversized compared to tablets with 10.1-inch screens, so it can be difficult to carry on the road. But it provides more mobility around a home compared to regular all-in-ones, in which the screens are attached to base.

In addition to Android, the tablet can also connect to the docking station wirelessly to become a remote virtual desktop and run Windows 8.

Asus claims the tablet delivers five hours of battery life. The multitouch screen can display images at a full high-definition resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. The tablet hardware includes Nvidia's Tegra 3 quad-core processor, which has an ARM Cortex-A9 processor.

The tablet transforms into a full desktop PC when connected to the dock, which has separate hardware for the all-in-one to run Windows 8. It has an Intel Core i5 processor based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. The dock, which Asus calls a PC Station, has an Nvidia GeForce GT730M graphics processor, 1TB hard drive, 8GB RAM, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, memory card slot, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

The tablet has 2GB of RAM, a front-facing camera, mini-USB 2.0 port, Wi-Fi and a battery. It also has a micro-SD slot for expandable storage of up to 32GB of data. A handle on top of the screen helps move the tablet around.

This unique all-in-one was introduced at last year's Computex trade show, where Asus Chairman Jonney Shih called the Transformer AiO the world's biggest tablet. The product name is borrowed from the Asus' Transformer line of Android tablets.

But it is the world's biggest tablet no longer. Panasonic earlier this year showed off a 20-inch tablet with a 4K screen that can display images at a resolution of 3840-by-2160 pixels, primarily for multimedia tasks like video editing and playback. Toshiba earlier launched a tablet with a 13.3-inch screen, but the company has since discontinued tablets.

All-in-ones usually have screens more than 20 inches, and computer makers view them as stationary PCs meant to sit on desks. Many all-in-ones are being used in living rooms or as desktop replacements. Many businesses use all-in-ones in stores to take orders or to display interactive advertisements.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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