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Android Portables

Asus EeePad Transformer Gets a Thumbs-Up 160

Posted by timothy
from the looks-like-a-contender dept.
Android Central has taken a close look at the new Transformer tablet from Asus, giving it an overall positive review, with minor points deducted for a 'plasticy' feel. The Transformer joins the Motorola Xoom in the world of Honeycomb (Android 3.0), and has very similar, high-end specs (though it's Wi-Fi only) with one big difference: the Transformer is marketed with a not-included-in-the-price attachable keyboard that adds a secondary battery. Notably, given inevitable comparison to the Xoom, the SD card slot, and Flash 10.2, work out of the box. The reviewer says Asus has done a credible job of making Honeycomb work well with a keyboard, but I wonder what other OSes will eventually be hacked onto this device. 16 hours of battery life in a netbook-sized computer sure sounds good to me, but I might want that to be with standard Linux apps instead of only with Android.
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Asus EeePad Transformer Gets a Thumbs-Up

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  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @02:39PM (#35897682)
    And where do the arms and legs come out?
  • but I might want that to be with standard Linux apps instead of only with Android.

    Why? Wouldn't most Linux (or even Windows) apps be a huge pain to use on just a touch screen?

    • by chispito (1870390)

      but I might want that to be with standard Linux apps instead of only with Android.

      Why? Wouldn't most Linux (or even Windows) apps be a huge pain to use on just a touch screen?

      Did you see the part where it's called a "Transformer" because there is a detachable keyboard/battery?

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Did you see the part where it's called a "Transformer" because there is a detachable keyboard/battery?

        Man, I thought that was because it could turn into a car [imdb.com].

        This is essentially just a docking station. How lame is that? ;-)

      • Did you see the part where it's called a "Transformer" because there is a detachable keyboard/battery?

        I did make an error, but that wasn't it. I interpreted that statement as "only Linux apps" to the exclusion of Android. I misread that.

        My bad.

    • by nomel (244635)

      Not sure about your mouse, but mine is pretty simple.

      The best windows touch screen I've used worked something like this:
          click - quick tap
          double click - two quick taps
          move mouse - move finger around the screen
          drag - click hold

      The only time I miss the mouse is with high precision clicking, like text selection or grabbing small sliders. Most everyday apps, getting within 5 pixels or so is completely acceptable.

    • by samkass (174571)

      but I might want that to be with standard Linux apps instead of only with Android.

      Why? Wouldn't most Linux (or even Windows) apps be a huge pain to use on just a touch screen?

      This is the core problem with Android tablets so far. They are currently having trouble bootstrapping their software/hardware co-dependent marketplace. So what is this device really for, then, if it's not going to get many of the best tablet-sized apps being developed on the iPad?

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Wouldn't most Linux (or even Windows) apps be a huge pain to use on just a touch screen?

      Well, if native Linux were available on devices and toolkits became better geared for handling multiple modes of interaction, there's no reason you couldn't load the same software on your tablet and on your desktop. It'd load one UI for the tablet and one UI for the desktop, with no code changes whatsoever between them.

      Android does not magically make applications work in the touch formfactor. It simply has no non-touch-f

    • The full Transformer setup has a keyboard and a touchpad, as well as USB for plugging in whatever you want. I doubt they'll sell many lone tablets without the dock; having seen the UK prices, I'd guesstimate about 75 USD more for the keyboard attachment bundle.

      For portable use, you'll probably just be browsing docs or taking quick notes, so it's not that big of a deal.

      • I'd guesstimate about 75 USD more for the keyboard attachment bundle.

        RFTA, you retard. It's 150 USD. Sheesh, where do these people come from?

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @02:48PM (#35897776)

    "Yes, this tablet is good but it needs a keyboard."

    "Ah, yes, this keyboard is fine, but it needs a real OS."

    "Whoa, this OS is killing the battery, what this needs is a big ol' battery and a charger brick to charge it."

    "My hand is getting tired with all the pinching and zooming. I need a good touchpad and sometimes a good mouse."

    So we're just reinventing the laptop. Great. Turns out doing something productive on a tablet is borderline impossible.

    • by icebike (68054)

      Quote Story:

      We initially began writing this review in it [The Polaris Office documents app] to get a feel for the keyboard -- until the tablet froze up and we lost a couple hundred words.

      There may be some problems with the initial choice of software, but that's not to say you can't do anything productive.

      One would probably not set out to write the next great Novel on such a device, but that is not the only definition of "productive".
      You can read email, the web, and books, create and edit spread sheets, documents and photos. You can collaborate over the
      internet with video conferencing.

      And you can choose to do this without the keyboard while sitting on the couch pounding down a b

      • by gad_zuki! (70830)

        Err, the laptop its actually SITTING ON MY LAP. Opposed to a tablet which I need to hold and use my other hand to control it. I can literally use a laptop with a beer in one hand, but its a lot more tricky with a tablet. You may to rethink this one.

        • by icebike (68054)

          Tired of roasting my knees. Hate laptops on the lap.

        • by samkass (174571)

          Err, the laptop its actually SITTING ON MY LAP. Opposed to a tablet which I need to hold and use my other hand to control it. I can literally use a laptop with a beer in one hand, but its a lot more tricky with a tablet. You may to rethink this one.

          You don't actually own one, apparently. Among the problems everyone I know who has an iPad have mentioned, that's never one of them.

          • That's precisely because people don't actually use it for anything where holding the tablet with a hand is a major problem. Like, say, typing any noticeable amount of text.

    • by nomel (244635)

      >Turns out doing something productive on a tablet is borderline impossible.

      And this has never been the target audience...which is why you probably don't have one ;-)

      • If people consume on a laptop, there isn't much of a barrier to starting to create on the same laptop should an idea hit them. But if people consume on a tablet and don't own a laptop, they can't easily switch to creating without making a substantial purchase.
    • Weird. I've been using my tablet all day to do reasonably productive things like handle work email, put together and modify a couple of web pages for different projects, drawn a few comps for proposed changes, remote in to our web server and reconfigure a couple of settings, and also do a little bit of video and sound editing for an event we just had. I've been traveling and so a couple of times where I normally wouldn't be able to work on a laptop easily (like in a cab) I've been a bit more productive than

    • by evilviper (135110)

      "My hand is getting tired with all the pinching zooming. I need a good touchpad and someti a good mouse."

      What!? Point me to the man who first came up with the idea of eliminating the awesome trackballs that came on ALL laptops way back when, and replaced them with the god-awful painful, slow, clumsy, and often accidentally activated touch pads, and I will find him and kill him with a rusty ax...

      Whoever it was, the same mindset spilled over into the keyboard as well... Honestly, I can find hundreds of awes

  • The 16-gigabyte version will cost $399; the 32GB version runs $499. The keyboard dock is another $149. So for $550 -- less than the cost of a 32GB Wifi-only Motorola Xoom, you can have a 16GB Android tablet/laptop.

    I'm guessing this thing will spend most of its life undocked, once you read your email and start surfing the net. Tablets are couch computers for the most part.
    How often will want to dredge up the keyboard, balance it on their lap while using it anywhere other than a desk or table?

    For the amount of typing one does on a tablet, it might be that some of the predictive on-screen keyboards [swiftkey.net] would be faster for most typing.

    • by Qwavel (733416)

      Yes, but let's get over the SD card and Flash issue.

      Those are not yet functional on the Xoom, and the fact that they released the Xoom without the SD support was rather silly, but the hardware is there and SD and Flash will soon be supported on the Xoom.

      Claiming Flash and SD as an advantage of the ASUS product will just confuse people.

      • by icebike (68054)

        Are you sure you are replying to the right person?
        I mentioned nothing about SD.

    • Asus are having an each-way bet. Along with the Transformer, there's also the Slider, which includes a slide-out keyboard.

      The Transformer, minus keyboard is lighter and more iPad-like. If they can keep the weight and depth down, the slider mechanism is robust and the keyboard doesn't stink, I'd be choose the retractable keyboard that doesn't need attaching. A problem with traditional tablet pcs is that the keyboards get in the way when you don't need them - there's some awkward rotation mechanism to hide th

      • by icebike (68054)

        And along with those two there is also the Acer-Iconia Tablet [bestbuy.com] which is just about the same spec as the transformer without the keyboard option.

        So they appear to be jumping into the tablet market full force.

  • They did a find job killing Linux Netbooks. Anyone remember that half drunk rant from an Asus CEO (or was it ACER) about MS strong arming them? I guess it doesn't matter since they don't run MS-Office, and oo.org isn't a serious competitor (nice software, but too much retraining, and if you don't think that's true, you haven't done enough tech support with end users). So how does Microsoft kill these Android phone/tablets so they don't bite into their market?
  • Just like a touchbook from Always Innovating (http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/home/index.htm) but with an actual production capability and an OS that the maker didn't have to write from scratch.

  • For a more in-depth review that includes benchmarks and photos that weren't taken out on mom's patio table, Anandtech did a pretty good write-up. I'm even being so kind as to include a link to the printer-friendly version with everything on the same page.

    http://www.anandtech.com/print/4277 [anandtech.com]
  • For me the big thing is the price... $399 (Even in Canada) is getting pretty close to a price point I'm comfortable with. The keyboard dock for an extra $150 I'd probably get at the same time.

    Although a 10" keyboard isn't ideal, I'm wondering what options there are, if any, to do real Android application development on something like this? I need to replace my old MacBook where I do most of my work right now, and my desire to try this tablet thing out and the fact it has a keyboard makes me wonder if that

    • by alvinrod (889928)
      I think that price, more than anything else, is going to allow this tablet to succeed where other Android tablets have failed. The only question is how many other tablet manufacturers are eager to turn this new market space into a cut-throat race to the bottom?
      • That's the only way to compete with Apple. I guess once the tablet apps in the Android Marketplace(s) get built up more there might be some incentive there but right now without a (significantly) lower priced product, it is really hard to compete with Apple's iPad.
    • The pricing is really well done.
      The differentiation is either in price ($100 lower than even the iPad) or in form-factor (keyboard dock) but not simultaneously.
      The reversed scrolling sounds particularly annoying.

      The Android invasion so far has only crippled Nokia and RIM (and assimilated Samsung, HTC, and Motorola), but now it's going for Microsoft.
      If this is a successful product, it's not clear how WinTel will be able to stop the second wave when the other Android manufacturers pile on.

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Way more than a netbook? Ridiculous.

    • by rdnetto (955205)

      I'm wondering what options there are, if any, to do real Android application development on something like this? I need to replace my old MacBook

      I wouldn't consider Android 3.0 a reasonable replacement for OSX. One is a mature OS, the other is very immature and still having the bugs ironed out. That said, I've heard that the eeePad is extremely easy to root and can therefore run any ARM Linux (e.g. Ubuntu), which would be much more powerful than Android. (And before you start complaining about the UI, consider that Gnome 3.0 will work pretty well for this).

  • Isn't this nearly as big a deal as when an iPhone site likes a new iPhone? I mean, Android lovers are desperate for Android tablets to like, so they're hardly unbiased.
    • by Asic Eng (193332)

      Isn't this nearly as big a deal as when an iPhone site likes a new iPhone?

      Well the difference is that they have many Android devices to chose from. So it's more like a PC site recommending an HP laptop instead of a Dell. Besides, it's a fairly good review of an interesting device.

  • Android tablet/netbook hybrid gets thumbs up from Android blog...

    In other news, AppleInsider likes some Apple products.

    The real question is whether the market will give the EeePad (and you guys thought "iPad" is was a dumb name?) a thumbs up. I wouldn't get my hopes up. They may very well sell a few thousand, though, making it one of the top Android tablets, so there's that.

  • Wow, I actually like this. It seems like it's very well done.

    I like the keyboard attachment, I really like that the keyboard got it's own battery and that you can decide if you want to use this as a tablet or as a laptop. Long term battery life, a good form factor, and it's not apple. I'm sure there will be lots of bugs to work out, but it sounds pretty cool to me so far. Oh, and the price is quite good. (Remember the price listed is the starting price... and it goes down from there.) We may get down

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I want two more cores and will pay another $150. I will sell all my netbooks (I have three) and maybe some other hardware to pay for it if necessary. With two cores I would only buy it if I had disposable income. I trust Asus in a way I don't trust any other manufacturer though, so I could believe they could get this hinge thing right. Having both uSDHC and SDHC slots is a big win. Having bgn wireless likewise. I've been dreaming of a laptop with touch for a long time, and fantasizing about a tablet, and th

  • Other reviews mention random reboots [anandtech.com]. Is Android Central at a point where they don't see that as a problem?

    • by Flipao (903929)
      I've been using one for two weeks, and while stuff has crashed from time to time I've seen no random reboots. Cheers.

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