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Oct 272011
 

ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih was very careful with not revealing too much about the upcoming ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime during his appearance at the AsiaD: All Things Digital in Hong Kong recently.  Yet, interest about the quad-core successor of the original ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is fast snowballing, especially now that the Transformer Prime’s landing page on the ASUS website is up and now that the device has been caught on photo while in the wild in China.

The live photos of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime first appeared on Chinese site Ptt BBS but were subsequently removed.  And, the photos reveal a lot of interesting facets about the upcoming Android tablet.

While the earlier ASUS Eee Pad Transformer was well-loved around the world, there are six big–very big–reasons why many Android fans are awaiting the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime.  Read on to find out what those reasons are.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime landing page

Quad-core Processing

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime is the world’s first Android tablet to come with NVIDIA Tegra 3 (Kal-El), the next-generation quad-core processor in the Tegra line.  If the NVIDIA Tegra 2’s dual-core processors already made Android tablet users weep with joy for butter-silk-smooth performance, you can just imagine what four cores–plus a fifth auxiliary core–could do not just to viewing HD videos, mind you, but also to overall performance and running Android apps.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Google’s latest update for the Android operating system, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, is expected to bring into one common Android version all the mouth-watering delights from Android 2.3 Gingerbread (for Android smartphones) and all the sweetness from Android 3.x Honeycomb (for Android tablets).  And, as the preview that Google provided the whole world with at Ice Cream Sandwich’s launch recently, there is no doubt that, along with NVIDIA Tegra 3, it will make the experience on the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime truly transformative.

One of the latest leaked photos of the Eee Pad Transformer Prime shows what appears to be the lock screen of Ice Cream Sandwich.

Sleek and Sturdy Build

Shih had already revealed that the Android tablet’s back will be made of concentric brushed aluminum finish, with the ASUS nameplate fixed right on the center.  The dullish sheen of the brushed aluminum gives the Eee Pad Transformer Prime a subdued but classy look.  The brushed aluminum body also provides good protection against fingerprints.

Aside from that, the Android tablet is reportedly 8.3 millimeters thin–including its keyboard dock, according to reports.  The most common word I’ve come across to describe the Eee Pad Transformer Prime’s thinness is “insane.”  Compared to the elder Eee Pad Transformer’s thinness of 12.98 millimeters, that’s indeed insane.

Keyboard Dock

The keyboard dock was what made the previous ASUS Eee Pad Transformer live up to its name as a transformer.  The keyboard dock, when attached to the Android tablet, practically transforms it into a netbook or laptop.  The Eee Pad Transformer Prime’s keyboard dock bears the same sleek brushed aluminum finish of the tablet itself.

ASUS seems to have made quite a few design changes to the touchpad on the keyboard dock, too.  As the photo above shows, the selection keys (touchpad equivalents of mouse buttons) are gone and seem to have been integrated into the touchpad itself.  The touchpad size appears to be the same as in the Eee Pad Transformer.

Also, when attached to the keyboard dock (which has its own battery), the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime extends its battery life much longer–up to 16.5 hours, according to Shih–than when it is undocked.  The Android tablet itself has its own battery that provides power for up to about 8.5 hours.

Bells and Whistles

Aside from a 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen display (1280×800 resolution), the Eee Pad Transformer Prime will also reportedly come with 1 GB of RAM, full-size USB port, Mini HDMI port, and a microSD expansion card slot.  It will also have a primary camera (of yet-undetermined pixel resolution) with LED flash.

Price

ASUS has been known for keeping prices of its products rather low (or “competitive,” if you’d like a business-oriented euphemism).  ASUS CEO Jerry Shen had confirmed to DIGITIMES in early October that the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime will cost $499.  If that price already includes the keyboard dock, then it truly is a “competitive” price point.

The mystery surrounding the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime will soon be unraveled this coming November 9, which ASUS has marked as the day for the Eee Pad Transformer Prime’s formal international launch.  We’ll know more by then about ASUS’s next-generation Android tablet, including the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime release date and price.

Feature image courtesy of ASUS; other images courtesy of Ptt BBS

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