Asus unveils three Android 3.0 tablets

Asus today announced three Android 3.0 tablets to accompany its Windows 7 Eee Slate.

All three tablets will use a customised Asus interface, but they range dramatically in shape and purpose – from a 7in rival to the Samsung Galaxy Tab to a 10.1in hybrid device that includes a detachable keyboard.

Asus Eee Pad TransformerThis is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, which will go on sale in April for prices ranging from $399 to $699. Powered by a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and with full support for Adobe Flash 10.1, Asus chairman Jonney Shih claimed it would offer “around twice the performance of the iPad A4 [processor] so it can provide the fastest web browsing”.

He gave a live demonstration of the Transformer at Asus’ pre-CES show, and it certainly flew along. However, the demo revealed little of what would make Android 3.0 a winner for tablets where Android 2.2 has struggled.

One impressive stat, however, is that the Transformer can last for 16 hours away from the mains when used with the keyboard.

Asus Eee Pad Slider

Next to arrive, in May, will be the Asus Eee Pad Slider. According to a slide at the pre-CES event, prices will range from $499 to $799, but (as with all the other tablets) Asus hasn’t yet confirmed UK pricing or availability.

Asus Eee Pad SliderThe Slider earns its name due to a slide-out Qwerty keyboard, but the on-stage demonstration suggested Android 3.0 isn’t fully optimised for physical keyboards just yet: despite entering text using the physical board, an on-screen keyboard appeared which took up a large portion of the display.

The 10.1in screen itself looks suitably sharp, and with IPS technology to help viewing angles it should rival the Apple iPad for readability. As with the Transformer, a Tegra 2 processor will keep Android flying along.

While it feels like a niche device, and we’re not convinced by the closeness of the screen to the keyboard, the model with an optional 3G module could appeal to business workers and bloggers looking for an instant-on machine that’s tuned for data input as well as data consumption.

Asus Eee Pad MeMO

Asus Eee Pad MeMOThe least interesting of the new devices could yet be the most successful. The 7in Eee Pad MeMO looks set to go squarely against the Galaxy Tab, and with prices ranging from $499 for the non-3G version and $699 for the 3G version it’s likely to end up with a similar price too.

Its key advantage on release in June will be the inclusion of Android 3.0, but it also includes a mini-HDMI port and can output 1080p video.

Asus will also be bundling a stylus, which it claims makes the MeMO “perfect for taking handwritten notes”.

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