Asus to release a cheaper Transformer Book … in Japan

ASUS Transformer Book (alternate)

The Asus Transformer Book (or TransBook) was showcased at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January and became available for preorder at MacMall by late February. With a preorder price of $1,480, we wouldn’t be surprised if you find it too expensive for your taste. If price is the only thing holding you back from making plans to get a TransBook, though, you’ll be happy to know that Asus is releasing a cheaper version of the device this week – in Japan, that is

The original Transformer Book is a 13.3-inch Ultrabook covertible that runs on a Core i7 processor. It’s the company’s first Windows 8 device with a laptop-tablet hybrid form factor. It has a 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a microSD card slot. The keyboard dock comes with a 500GB HDD for even more storage capacity, two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, and an extra hour to add to the tablet’s five-hour battery life. The cheaper version that will hit the market in Japan this week is pretty much the same device, except it has a Core i5 processor. It will be sold in Japan for roughly $1,280, but it will likely cost less than that if ever it becomes available stateside. The Core i7 Transbook will be released in Japan by the end of March – no word yet on when it will start shipping in the U.S.

Asus is no stranger to multi-purpose devices like the TransBook. Just earlier, we reported that the Transformer AiO will hit the North American market sometime in the second quarter of 2013. The Transformer AiO is a Windows 8 desktop PC and an Android tablet in one – all you need to do to make it more mobile is to slide the display off its desktop dock. Its Transformer series of tablets, which includes the original Transformer, the Transformer Prime, the Transformer Pad, and the Transformer Pad Infinity all come with optional docking keyboards that turn them into touchscreen laptops. There’s also the Padfone (and its second iteration) and the Fonepad – two-in-one devices that can be used either as phones or tablets. Both these devices are made up of two components: a touchscreen phone and a tablet shell. We say “shell,” because the tablet doesn’t work until you insert the phone into its built-in dock.

Not sure if the Asus Transformer Book is your cup of tea? Make sure to check out our hands-on video to see the device in action.