Tuesday, January 07, 2014

CES 2014: Asus unveils the Transformer Book Duet, the world's first 4-in-1 device

Asus beat Intel to the punch on Monday night, although the company is using an Intel Haswell processor. The CPU powers Asus' Transformer Book Duet TD300, which Asus CEO Johnny Shih called, via The Verge, the world's first four-in-one device. The 13.3-inch device is both a Windows 8 tablet / laptop and an Android tablet / laptop.

Haswell is, of course, the 2013 revision of Intel's Core processor series. Entry-level models of the TD300 will ship with Intel Core i3 chips, while higher-end versions will go all the way up into Core i7 territory. Unlike earlier rumors of an Intel Dual OS device, there is no virtualization involved.

There is, instead, an OS switching button (dubbed Instant Switch), which switches from Windows to Android and vice versa. It takes about 3 to 4 seconds to switch, but the lack of virtualization means there is no way to run Android and Windows apps side-by-side, which was rumored last week.

Entry level models will start at $599 with a 1366 x 768 screen and 64GB of storage on-board. For an extra $100, folks can opt into a full HD 1920 x 1080 screen.

As its Transformer moniker implies, there is a keyboard dock involved. The dock supplies extra ports and extra storage -- up to a 1TB hard drive, no less. However, it does not include an additional battery, which could sorely be used by the device. The TD300's 38Wh battery is rated at five hours for Windows 8, and six for Android.

It ships with Android 4.2.2 and Windows 8.1. The tablet portion can house up to 128GB of flash storage, and supports up to 64GB of microSD storage. The Transformer Book Duet will sport 4GB of DDR3L 1600 RAM, 802.11ac WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR.

Here are the full specs provided by Asus in its press release:
  • Dual-OS - Windows 8.1 Standard / Android 4.2.2
  • 13.3-inch Full HD IPS multi-touch display
  • Up to Intel® Core™ i7 processor
  • 4GB DDR3L 1600 RAM
  • Up to 128GB SSD in Tablet
  • Up to 1TB HDD in Dock
  • 38WHr battery, estimated battery life around 5 hours in Windows 8.1 and 6 hours in Android 4.2.2.
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR
  • Tablet ports: Micro SD card, Headphone jack, DC jack
  • Keyboard dock ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 10/100Mbit/s LAN, HDMI 1.4, audio combo jack, DC jack
The big question is when. Reportedly, the Asus Transformer Book Duet will hit U.S. shores in late March.

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