The onslaught of Android tablets set to compete with the Apple iPad is getting underway, and Taiwan’s Asustek has announced its will start accepting pre-orders for its Eee Pad Transformer convertible tablet in Taiwan this week, with plans to launch it in the United States next month. The Transformer will initially compete primarily with the Motorola Xoom, and will feature a 10.1-inch display, an Nvidia Tegra processor for snappy graphics, and Android 3.0 Honeycomb for improved performance and tablet features. However, the Transformer’s biggest claim to fame will be the ability to convert to a netbook form factor by way of a docking keyboard that doubles as an extra battery. On its own, the Transformer’s batteries last for about 8 hours, but with the keyboard that gets extended to 16 hours.
Exact specs on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer are still a little scarce, but the device will feature a 10.1-inch touchscreen reportedly offering a 1,280 by 800-pixel resolution, a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and sport two USB 2.0 ports and a microSD memory card slot. Reports have the Transformer featuring both 802.11 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless networking, two cameras (a rear-facing 5 megapixel camera and a front-facing 1.2-megapixel unit), HDMI output, and the usual passel of mobile device sensors: a gravity sensor, compass, ambient light sensor, and gyropscope. The device will apparently sport 16 to 64 GB of flash storage, although some reports have the U.S. versions starting at 32 GB. Asus has not announced pricing, but industry watcher expect the devices to land in the U.S. market at prices from $499 to $699—add more to that for the docking keyboard. The Eee Pad Transformer has been designed with an optional 3G module, and while 3G versions will apparently be available in some markets, no carrier partners have yet been announced in the United States.
Asus initially announced the Transformer back in January at the CES trade show in Las Vegas.