Asus shows off a quartet of Eee tablets


— 6:32 PM on January 4, 2011

This afternoon, in a press conference ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Asus unveiled no fewer than four different tablets that will become available in the coming months. The first to arrive will be the Eee Slate EP121. This 12.1" system features an IPS panel with a 1280x800 display resolution and support for both stylus and multitouch input. Under the hood, there's an honest-to-goodness PC based on a Core i5-470UM processor. To that, Asus adds up to 64GB of solid-state storage, as much as 4GB of memory, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, HDMI and USB ports, and an SD card slot.

Asus manages to cram all that into a chassis that measures just 17 mm thick and weighs a little more than 2.5 lbs. As one might expect, the Eee Slate comes equipped with Windows 7. Asus will also be offering a matching Bluetooth keyboard for extended typing sessions, but it doesn't look like any effort has been made to offer an user interface optimized for multitouch input. Bummer. The EP121 will also be rather expensive, with prices starting at $999.

 

If that's too rich for your blood, the Eee Pad Transformer starts at a much more reasonable $399. This one follows a more traditional tablet formula: a Tegra 2 CPU coupled with Android 3.0. The 10.1" multitouch display has a swanky IPS panel with the same 1280x800 display resolution as the Eee Slate. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are included, as is an HDMI output, an SD card slot, and a docking interface for an optional keyboard. That keyboard purportedly boosts battery life to 16 hours, although there's no word on how long the Pad will last on its own.

The Transformer is a little smaller than the EP121 and weighs about a pound less. Despite demoing what looked very much like a finished product on stage, the Eee Pad Transformer won't be available until April. One month later, Asus will release the Eee Pad Slider. This puppy swaps the Transformer's keyboard dock for an integrated one that slides out fro the back of the system. That looks to be the biggest difference between the two other than pricing, which is $100 higher for the slider.

Should 1280x800 be too many pixels for your tastes, an Eee Pad MeMO is coming in June with a 7" screen and 1024x600 resolution. The MeMO drops Tegra in favor of a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and Asus is sticking with Android 3.0 for the OS. There's also a extender module that turns the mini-slate into a phone. You can check out pictures of the MeMO, Slider, and Asus' other Eee tablets in the image gallery below.

   
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