Asus has made its Eee Pad Transformer Prime convertible tablet computer available for presale in the United States, offering consumers the chance to reserve the market's first quad-core slate in time for its December rollout.
As the successor to the popular Eee Pad Transformer tablet, the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 3.2 Honeycomb-powered Prime has a 10.1-inch, Super IPS+ display made of Corning Gorilla Glass, with a 178 degree angle, which lends itself to viewing by several people.
The tablet is powered by Nvidia's Tegra 3 1.3GHz quad-core processor and has 1GB of RAM, a combination that will enable games, videos, applications and pretty much all multimedia to hum along swiftly on the device. The tablet is only 0.33 inches thin and weighs 1.29 pounds, making it thin and light on top of powerful and fast.
The mobile dock, which makes the device a convertible tablet, includes a keyboard and touchpad for text input. The tablet boasts 12 hours of battery life thanks to its power management software, and up to 18 hours without a charge when paired with the mobile dock.
With its 8-megapixel rear camera, the device also shoots HD video in 1080p, complemented by a 1.2MP front-facing shutter for video chat. There is a micro HDMI port to enable users to play their content on a larger HDTV screen or monitor with an HDMI cable (sold separately).
Boy Genius Report noted that Asus has said the Prime will get the bump to the new Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" build, which merges the Android smartphone and tablet branches into a more cohesive user experience.
The Prime also supports mobile Flash, which Adobe is eventually doing away with to push HTML5 development. However, Adobe did say Flash would be coming to ICS devices soon, so the multimedia technology isn't going extinct for a while.
U.S. customers can preorder the 32GB Prime for $499.99 or the $64GB version for $599.99 in champagne or gray colors here from Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers.
As the first mass-marketed quad-core-powered tablet, the Prime should sell fast and sell well to consumers looking for an Android tablet with premium features that outperforms even the vaunted Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad 2, whose A5 processor makes it a tough rival to follow.