Asus Unveils Quad-Core Transformer Tablets

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Barcelona, Spain - Asus expanded its Transformer Pad lineup of Android-based tablets here at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), all with the ability to dock with a companion keyboard to deliver a laptop-like experience.

The three new models all feature quad-core processors, which complete tasks faster and with less battery drain than dual- and single-core processors. Two of the new models feature Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, and one model due with Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) is upgradable to 4.0.

Two are the company's first Android tablets with 4G LTE, and one is a Wi-Fi-only model.

The tablets' optional docking keyboards extend tablet battery life.

Plans for the U.S. market weren't disclosed.

The new trio will join a dual-core 1GHz Transformer launched in 2011 with Android 3.2. It comes in Wi-Fi and 4G HSPA+ versions.

The new lineup starts with the Transformer Pad Prime series, first announced late last year with Android 3.2 and upgradability to 4.0. It features Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core 1.4GHz processor and 10.1-inch LED-backlit Super IPS+ touchscreen with WXGA 1280x800 HD resolution and 600-nit brightness, which is designed for better outdoor reading.

The Prime is the slimmest of the three, with a 0.33-inch metallic-spun chassis weighing 1.29 pounds. Into that chassis, the Prime packs a choice of 32GB or 64GB memory, 1GM RAM, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, 8-megapixel front camera with LED flash and f/2.4 aperture, 1.2-megapixel front camera, stereo speakers, micro HDMI port, MicroSD card slot, gyroscope, e-compass, no GPS and 12-hour battery life, which grows to 18 hours when the keyboard is docked.

Another new series, the Transformer Pad 300 series, will feature Wi-Fi-only and 4G LTE cellular versions. The Wi-Fi version will feature Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, while the LTE version will presumably feature a dual-core processor, as has been the case with other tablets announced with LTE. It will come out of the gate with Android 4.0.

The 300, due with 16GB memory, will offer most of the same features as the Pad Prime, including 1GB RAM, but it will add GPS, 1080p video recording and Bluetooth 3.0. Its 10.1-inch LED-backlit screen, however, is listed as using IPS technology rather than Super IPS + as in the Prime, and its battery life is slightly lower, at 10 hours expandable to 15 hours with docked keyboard.

The Pad 300 will be slightly thicker than the Prime, at 0.39 inches, and slightly heavier, at 1.4 pounds. Three colors will be available.

The top series in the trio is the Transformer Pad Infinity series, which will launch with Android 4.0, come in Wi-Fi-only and 4G LTE cellular versions, and offer 16GB, 32GB or 64GB storage. The Wi-Fi version adds the Nvidia Tegra 3 TSS quad-core 1.6GHz processor, and the LTE version will come with Qualcomm's S4 dual-core 1.5GHz processor. Enhancements compared to the other two models include FullHD 1,920 by 1,200 10.1-inch display, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, 2-megapixel front camera and HDMI 1.4a port.

Like the Prime, the Infinity features Super IPS+ technology with 600-nit brightness. Like the 300, it features GPS. Chassis thickness is 0.3 inches, and weight is 1.3 pounds. Battery life is 10 hours, expandable to 16 with docked keyboard.


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