ASUS has announced the successor to its Eee Pad Transformer and its called the Eee Pad Transformer Prime. It's the world's first quad-core Android tablet and like its predecessor, it boasts an optional, detachable keyboard dock that transforms it from a tablet into a notebook-style device.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime may have a long-winding name that sounds like it belongs in a Transformers movie, but it certainly looks very impressive on paper. It's the first Android tablet in the world to run a quad-core processor, in this case NVIDIA's 1.3GHz Tegra 3 chip.
NVIDIA says the Tegra 3 processor that powers the Eee Pad Transformer Prime will result in five times the performance of the Tegra 2 CPU used in many current Android tablets. It also promises much better battery life — ASUS says the Transformer Prime is good for 12 hours video playback by itself, and up to an excellent 18 hours if the optional keyboard dock (with built-in battery) is connected. If these figures translate to real world experience, the Eee Pad Transformer Prime will have better battery life than Apple's market-leading iPad 2.
ASUS has clearly worked on the design of the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, too. It's just 8.33mm thin and weighs only 586g. This is a significant improvement over the original Eee Pad Transformer which measured 13mm thick and weighed almost 700g. The back of the Transformer Prime is constructed from aluminum and has an attractive looking swirl design. The tablet will be available in two colours — Amethyst Gray or Champagne Gold.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime has a 10.1-inch Super IPS + display that's coated in Gorilla glass. The screen has a resolution of 1280 x 800 and ASUS also claims the use of technology that enhances brightness for better outdoor viewing. The Eee Pad Transformer Prime is powered by 1GB of RAM and has either 32GB or 64GB of internal memory along with a microSD card slot. It also has a micro-HDMI port. The optional keyboard dock adds a full-sized USB port, a full-sized SD card slot and a multi-touch trackpad, making for an impressive lists of ports.
Disappointingly, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime doesn't have 3G connectivity, so its a Wi-Fi-only tablet. An 8-megapixel rear camera with continuous flash will handle photography and 1080p HD video recording, while a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera can be used for video calls through services like Skype.
ASUS will initially ship the Eee Pad Transformer Prime with Google's Android 3.2 operating system, but says it will provide an over-the-air update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich "as soon as possible". Its a shame that the tablet won't come standard with the latest version of Android, but its obvious it was well in the works before Ice Cream Sandwich was unveiled.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime will be available in the US and selected other markets in early December, but Australian availability and pricing has yet to be announced. It's expected to be available Down Under some time in early 2012.