Today is the day! The day ASUS presents its products at CES 2011. After a few teasers here and there it’s time to take a look at what the company has been doing for the past few months since their Computex announcement of the EEE Pads. The official press event is held in the gorgeous Aria resort & casino (hit this link for some impressive visuals).
My expectations are high, given the technological minds behind the ASUS team and teaser mentioned earlier. I also hope that some new product(s) gets shown, to take us by surprise, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen, mainly because all big products launched past years have benefited form earlier marketing campaigns, more or less conventional, including teasers, “leaks” and partial presentations.
So buckle up friends, as the ASUS press conference is just starting. I’ll be updating this post as the products being rolled over (thx Engadget for support).
As with any press conference ASUS is starting by presenting its 2010 accomplishments, a long list that includes over 3300 awards, including the one for Carbon Footprint Award and the most reliable PC maker. They don’t forget to mention the number one motherboard maker (I loved my ASUS motherboards, by the way).
EEE Pad MeMO
And here’s the first tablet, with an unexpected name, EEE Pad MeMO. As you can imagine it’s a tablet optimized for pen and stylus text entry. It’s got a 7 inch IPS color screen, dual cameras, 1080p video playback support and Android OS powered by a dual core Snapdragon 1.2 GHz CPU. It features the MeMIC media phone extender (that’s a nice concept, which I hope ASUS will detail more soon).
EEE Slate EP121
It’s the most powerful Windows 7 tablet, according to ASUS. Let’s see why: 12.1-inch 1280 x 800 IPS LCD screen, a powerful Core i5-470UM processor, 64GB SSD and 4GB of RAM.
ASUS manages a pretty impressive demo: 1080p video running in background while the device opens up a 60 MB file in Photoshop. It comes with a bundled wireless keyboard and Wacom digitizer, but the keyboard is not a docking station, apparently.
EEE Pad Transformer
That’s the docking station with keyboard which can power a Tegra 2 10 inch tablet (1280 x 800 IPS screen) running Android, not sure which one, for up to 16 hours (the tablet itself adds another 8 hours of runtime). The tablet itself is 0.51 inch thicker, while the CPU is twice as powerful than the iPad’s A4 chip.
The interface was customized by ASUS and is called MyWave. MyZine, MyLibrary, MyGallery are custom ASUS apps. Apparently the docking keyboard can be removed and added while the tablet is still on. That’s nice. Too bad it’s not compatible with the EEE Slate EP121 (the tablet I like, if you haven’t figured out that already).
Eee Pad Slider
This is another tablet, with a sliding keyboard that can be tucked away under the screen when not in use. Reminds me of my Nokia N97 mini (not in size, of course).
The EEE Pad Slider has a 10.1 inch IPS screen, dual cameras, WiFi N, USB and card reader. The 2 pounds device is powered by Android Honeycomb, just like the previous tablets apparently.
Availability and pricing
Here’s where the bad news starts: EEE Slate EP121 will be available in January, EEE Pad Transformer is April, EEE Pad Slider is May, and the EEE Pad MeMO is June. Pricing is not so nice either: Slate starts at $999 and goes up to $1099, Transformer starts at $399 and goes up to $699, Slider at $499 and increases to $799 and MeMO ranges from $499 to $699.
From all the tablets shown by ASUS today I like most the EEE Slate EP121, because of the software options (unlimited for a Windows user), but I know the software is also it’s weak point, because the UI is not optimized for touch use. I’m a little bit disappointed that the Slate didn’t got the docking keyboard.