When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad in January last year, he got some of the loudest response when he showed the tablet sliding into a physical keyboard dock. The reaction for a keyboard – or, as some iPad aficionados might say, a keyboard? — may have been because people hadn’t yet fully understand the iPad. Or, they imagined Jobs was showing off a device that could be both a tablet and a desktop.
We now know he wasn’t. But ASUS is, sort of. Its Eee Pad Transformer, which goes on sale April 26, is both a tablet and a netbook. The screen detaches to run Google’s Honeycomb OS for up to eight hours. Attach it to the keyboard and it runs 16 hours between charges. The keyboard essentially offers a power boost when the tablet runs out of juice.
Early reviews and comments from around the Web have been largely positive. StuffMidEast (one of the first to get their hands on it) says it feels solid and surprisingly lightweight with or without the keyboard. Electricpig says ASUS is the rare company that has improved on the Android OS.
At this point the device is absent a 3G connection, and that contributes to its lower overall price. The price point starts at $399 for the 16GB model, and the keyboard docking device for another $149.