Tablets are everywhere at CES this year, to no one's surprise. Asus is showing off its Transformer Prime, which is receiving an early update to Ice Cream Sandwich. Android 4.0 was supposed to be pushed out to the device on January 12, but the update has already been released, and our sample just finished installing it. We've also learned that an ICS update is coming to the original Transformer in the February/March timeframe.
The big news for the Transformer family is a new version of the Prime with a high-density display. Yep, Asus has beaten Apple to the punch, at least publicly. The Transformer Prime TF700 features a 10" IPS panel with a 1920x1200 display resolution. In addition to being able to show HD movies in all their glory, the high-res screen should make scaled fonts and images look especially clean and crisp. The individual pixels are difficult to see even with the screen inches from one's face.
Apart from the upgraded display, the TF700 is very similar to the existing model. The ultra-bright SuperIPS+ mode remains, as does the Tegra 3 SoC. Asus has made a couple of changes to the chassis, taking the spin out of the aluminum back panel and inserting a plastic strip that's supposed to improve Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS reception. The Prime's front-facing 1.2MP camera has also been replaced with a 2MP unit to enable 1080p video conferencing.
This latest addition to the Transformer family is set to become available midway through the second quarter of 2012. Asus tells us the TF700 will cost $100 more than the existing model, which will continue to be sold after the TF700 arrives. After seeing the screen in person, that premium seems entirely reasonable. 1920x1200 offers well over double the number of pixels in the current Prime's 1280x800 display. With a 2048x1536 iPad 3 rumored to be in the cards, it will be interesting to see how the TF700 fares against Apple's next tablet.