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New Asus Device Runs Both Windows and Android 126

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the double-the-vendor-lockin dept.
taz346 writes "Asus has unveiled a new 11.6-inch tablet/laptop that runs both Windows 8 and Android Jelly Bean side by side, the BBC reports. The firm said 'users would be able to synchronise data between the platforms in order to enjoy a "smooth transition" between each mode.' Hmmm, I'm guessing one could also create another partition and install a full Linux distro as well, though there's no telling how UEFI might come into play."
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New Asus Device Runs Both Windows and Android

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 04, 2013 @03:13AM (#43902691)
    i don't understand anybody that wants android on a pc, hell i barely understand why i have it on my phone.
    • by Cenan (1892902) on Tuesday June 04, 2013 @03:32AM (#43902763)

      I guess the key would be familiarity with the platform, like how Windows has managed to stay on top for so long. If you can get people to accept Android on their computer, you might just have a way to break the monopoly. You're right that Android doesn't seem very suited as a general purpose computing platform, but that could change.

      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday June 04, 2013 @05:54AM (#43903043)

        It is as more suited than the Windows 8 "Metro" interface, and would fulfil the requirements of most basic users. Unlike iOS, it gives you full control over the user filesystem you can easily exchange data between any applications with ease. The multitasking is very usable. It's at least *very* close to a good general purpose OS.

        • by Cenan (1892902)

          Usability should come naturally with feedback I would presume, and if we're lucky Android won't blow up into a million different incompatible distros run by enormous egos with no regard for their end users, always chasing the hottest new fad (I know this is not always the case, but standing outside looking in at the community around GNU/Linux, that is what it looks like to an every day user).

          I'm really hoping Android can take off as an alternative to Windows, iOS and GNU/Linux. Both Windows and GNU/Linux su

          • by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday June 04, 2013 @09:47AM (#43904131)

            I'd say the opposite. The Android "permissions at install" system is fundamentally broken. At the point of install you don't necessarily know the details of what an app does, nor why it might want to access certain resources. The right way to do it is to ask at the time the app first asks for a resource. That way you have context. You know what you asked the app to do, or the app can explain why it wants the permission.

            Of course whatever way permissions are granted, there also needs to be a way to withdraw them from apps as well.

            • by Cenan (1892902)

              I'd say the opposite. The Android "permissions at install" system is fundamentally broken.

              Oh yes, there are a lot of ways to improve the system. I don't agree that it is fundamentally broken though, and the rest of your post says you don't either.

              The right way to do it is to ask at the time the app first asks for a resource. That way you have context. You know what you asked the app to do, or the app can explain why it wants the permission.

              I don't think putting any faith in what a developer has to say about "why" the app needs the permissions is the way to go, from experience we know that good devs will tell the truth and malicious devs will tell the lie to resemble the truth. So that has no value, unless you add some kind of static analysis to the report prior to presenting the request t

              • I don't think putting any faith in what a developer has to say about "why" the app needs the permissions is the way to go, from experience we know that good devs will tell the truth and malicious devs will tell the lie to resemble the truth.

                I didn't suggest putting faith in it. But the alternative is not having any information on what the app needs the resource for. It's like you are guardian of a real world key safe. Do you want people who ask you for keys to tell you why they want it. Or to not be allowed to tell you anything - you just have to guess.

                As to the user bing "bombarded" with resource requests, obviously if that happened it would be wrong. But it's something from your imagination, not a real problem. If a system did that, then som

            • At the point of install you don't necessarily know the details of what an app does, nor why it might want to access certain resources.

              While browsing Google Play Store on my Nexus 7 tablet, I've seen more and more applications that explain in the description exactly what they do with each permission.

              Of course whatever way permissions are granted, there also needs to be a way to withdraw them from apps as well.

              A way for whom to withdraw them? The user or the operating system publisher?

      • Windows monopoly? What is this, the 2000s?

        • Consider the major personal computing operating systems that allow showing more than one application's window on the screen at a time. The ones I can think of are Windows, Windows RT, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux, and among these four, Windows has such a supermajority of usage share that it arguably has market power [wikipedia.org]. Let me know when the iPad can run an iPhone app in a floating or tiled window or when the usage share of Mac OS X rises from its current 7% (source: Wikipedia citing Net Applications [wikipedia.org]) to even 20%.
          • by exomondo (1725132)

            Consider the major personal computing operating systems that allow showing more than one application's window on the screen at a time.

            If you're using narrow definitions of markets like that then everybody has a monopoly in a particular market.

            Windows has such a supermajority of usage share that it arguably has market power [wikipedia.org].

            No 'Windows' has no market power, it is a product. Microsoft on the other hand - being a company - could have significant market power, however the dismal adoption of Windows 8 proves that they no longer do, unlike in previous years.

            • If you're using narrow definitions of markets like that then everybody has a monopoly in a particular market.

              You try getting work done in a task that uses multiple applications if the only window management policy available to you is all maximized all the time. Otherwise, if you want to see more than one document at once, you have to do like they did on Star Trek: buy multiple tablets, one to show each window. I don't think 51 percent of people are willing to spend that much money.

              No 'Windows' has no market power, it is a product.

              I meant "Windows" in the sense of the division of Microsoft dedicated to developing and marketing Windows, just as "PlayStation" refers

              • by exomondo (1725132)

                You try getting work done in a task that uses multiple applications if the only window management policy available to you is all maximized all the time.

                Irrelevant.

                That depends on what happens in April 2014 when just about every remaining Windows XP PC connected to the Internet gets 0wn3d through a vulnerability that shall remain forever unpatched. What do you think is most likely to replace, or replace Windows XP on, the 38% of PCs that run Windows XP (same source)?

                No it doesn't, in the old days when they had significant market power they never had to wait for an OS to go out of support to see significant adoption of the new one. And as for your hypothetical, even if that did happen, it's equally likely they won't get replaced or maybe they'll be replaced with Macs or Linux systems or iPads or Android tablets, Microsoft has no power to force them to be upgraded to Windows 8 - we've even seen entire governments switch away from Windows.

                • by tepples (727027)

                  You try getting work done in a task that uses multiple applications if the only window management policy available to you is all maximized all the time.

                  Irrelevant.

                  How is it irrelevant? It shows that for a large class of people who use a machine for purposes more involved than Facebook and YouTube, an iPad or an Android tablet is no substitute for a PC running Windows.

                  • by exomondo (1725132)

                    How is it irrelevant?

                    Because defining a market based on whether a specific activity is convenient on a particular system based on a design decision has no relation to market power in anti-trust law.

                    It shows that for a large class of people who use a machine for purposes more involved than Facebook and YouTube, an iPad or an Android tablet is no substitute for a PC running Windows.

                    It shows nothing, being intentionally obtuse will not help your argument. When I'm working in an IDE I always use it fullscreen, video editing, audio editing, photo editing, gaming and obviously innumerable other tasks are most often done fullscreen (often spread across multiple screens) and are clearly 'more involved than Facebook o

      • by RJFerret (1279530)

        In my case, I was completely unfamiliar with Android, but installed BlueStacks to run it on my Win7 laptop. I found I prefer the Google Voice droid app over the web interface, G+, Yahoo mail, and some others. It eliminated some tabs I used to keep open in Firefox.

        Why? Because too often designers provide unneeded functionality that impedes core usability. The nature of mobile applications and perceived (albeit nonexistent) limitations diminishes that. I can basically update a spreadsheet in less time wi

        • by Cenan (1892902)

          So my answer is it's convenient and life enhancing. :-)

          Straight and to the point UI design tends to have that kind of impact on people, I guess I need to look into BlueStacks.

    • by Molochi (555357)

      It seems rather convoluted. The only reason I don't use a real OS on my tablet is the lack of hardware support.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      i don't understand anybody that wants android on a pc, hell i barely understand why i have it on my phone.

      Because it makes it easier to dial numbers and use the camera than old fashioned numeric-pad-plus-up-down-left-right phones?

      You could try rooting your phone and installing a free command shell. After that you can type things like "sudo rm -rf /". You'll feel right at home.

    • by JustNiz (692889)

      Personally, I dont understand why anybody wants windows, especially 8, on a PC.

    • You misspelled "Windows 8".

      Really though, I can't figure out why running Android on a PC would be superior to just preloading Ubuntu or something along those lines. And Windows 8 for the desktop is nonsense that should be rejected as Windows ME and Vista were. We're in the process of upgrading a bunch of systems at work and we're not even considering anything that comes with Win8.

      • I can't figure out why running Android on a PC would be superior to just preloading Ubuntu or something along those lines.

        Because Android has more applications that end users want than Ubuntu has.

        • For now. Make a system that does what the Google Play store and the App Store do, and you'll have publishers, I assure you.

          • Make a system that does what the Google Play store and the App Store do, and you'll have publishers, I assure you.

            That's what the Windows Store and the paid apps that Ubuntu Software Center added in 12.04 were supposed to be. Have they caught on yet? If not, what are they missing compared to Google Play Store and Apple's App Store?

            • A user base.

              • When iOS 2 was released, the App Store had no user base. When Android 1.0 was released, Android Market had no user base. How did these manage to gain a user base while Ubuntu Software Center and Windows Store have failed?
                • I see where you're going with this, but the markets are too fundamentally different for your direction to be correct. What impresses people about a phone will just disappoint most the laptop market. Especially as far as "apps" go, which are mostly a far cry from the programs people have become accustomed to.

                  • by tepples (727027)

                    the [PC and phone] markets are too fundamentally different for your direction to be correct. What impresses people about a phone will just disappoint most the laptop market. Especially as far as "apps" go, which are mostly a far cry from the programs people have become accustomed to.

                    Just claiming that they're different is special pleading [wikipedia.org]. I'd like a bit more explanation of your opinion as to whether applications for tablets should more closely resemble applications for phones or applications for laptops and why. Keep in mind that this product is a laptop whose screen can be detached from the keyboard to become a standalone tablet, and we're trying to decide whether to run Android or Ubuntu for tablets [ubuntu.com] on the tablet while detached. So how should one go about building enough of a user b

                    • I'm not sure you understood my position well enough to continue this conversation if you are arguing that I used "special pleading." My argument is about user expectations, not about whether the devices are fundamentally different on a strictly technological level.

                      My contention has always been that user expectations from a tablet and user expectations from a laptop are very different, just as their expectations from a phone and a laptop are very different. Meanwhile, for many people's actual usage, a tabl

                    • My contention has always been that user expectations from a tablet and user expectations from a laptop are very different, just as their expectations from a phone and a laptop are very different.

                      Which leaves the difference in expectations between a phone and a tablet unstated. My question here is whether the difference in user expectations from a tablet and from a phone is greater than the difference in user expectations from a tablet and from a laptop. In the space of user expectations, there's a line between phone and laptop, and I want to know whether a tablet is closer to a phone, closer to a laptop, or closer to the halfway point.

                      My tablet runs Android, my laptop runs Linux. Two separate devices.

                      And these are two separate devices. The top half is a screen tha

                    • I can see that we are just going to have to continue to disagree on this. We fundamentally disagree concerning what people want, need, and/or expect out of devices in irreconcilable ways.

                • by exomondo (1725132)

                  When iOS 2 was released, the App Store had no user base. When Android 1.0 was released, Android Market had no user base. How did these manage to gain a user base while Ubuntu Software Center and Windows Store have failed?

                  Because they provided a built-in mechanism for getting software onto the respective platforms when really no other mechanism existed. Ubuntu Software Center and Windows Store are just another way to get software onto Ubuntu and Windows respectively.

                  • by tepples (727027)
                    Windows Store is "a built-in mechanism for getting software onto" a Surface or other Windows RT tablet "when really no other mechanism existed" without obtaining a developer license. Besides, another mechanism existed since the dawn of Android, apart from a few AT&T handsets for six months: loading APKs through "Unknown sources".
                    • by exomondo (1725132)

                      Windows Store is "a built-in mechanism for getting software onto" a Surface or other Windows RT tablet "when really no other mechanism existed" without obtaining a developer license.

                      What's your point? The platform itself hasn't been successful so obviously the application store isn't going to be (well it probably is successful within the scope of the minuscule RT user base but not compared to anything else).

                      Besides, another mechanism existed since the dawn of Android, apart from a few AT&T handsets for six months: loading APKs through "Unknown sources".

                      Which is not and never has been applicable to mainstream.

                    • by tepples (727027)

                      The platform itself hasn't been successful so obviously the application store isn't going to be

                      Then perhaps my core question is this: What made iOS and Android successful and Windows Phone and Windows RT not?

                      loading APKs through "Unknown sources".

                      Which is not and never has been applicable to mainstream.

                      Then why do all these news stories about Android malware, the vast majority of which requires turning on "Unknown sources", make the implicit claim that "Unknown sources" is mainstream? Perhaps it is in China and other countries where Google Play Store does not operate or does not offer priced applications.

                    • by exomondo (1725132)

                      Then perhaps my core question is this: What made iOS and Android successful and Windows Phone and Windows RT not?

                      Well that's a different question, I'd say timing and a lack of compelling features. To enter an established market late in the game you need a disruptive product, evidently Windows Phone and RT are not that. I haven't used RT but I have used Phone and personally I liked it though as much as I liked it I can't see what element would make a person choose it over the incumbents (iOS and Android).

                      Then why do all these news stories about Android malware, the vast majority of which requires turning on "Unknown sources", make the implicit claim that "Unknown sources" is mainstream?

                      I don't think they do, much of the Android malware stories are about it appearing in the Google Play store, and rare

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm guessing one could also create another partition and install a full Linux distro as well, though there's no telling how UEFI might come into play."

    There's no telling whether this thing will shit ice-cream either, but like the issue of UEFI we do have a pretty good idea about it. Firstly it is SecureBoot that would affect installation of other operating systems and secondly since it is Windows 8 it has the option to turn SecureBoot off, for fuck sake even Microsoft's own device, the Surface Pro, allows

    • Re:UEFI? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday June 04, 2013 @03:50AM (#43902803) Homepage

      You can't turn off SecureBoot on ARM-based surfaces, only on Intel-based ones (eg. Surface Pro).

      Ref: http://www.howtogeek.com/149254/if-i-buy-a-computer-with-windows-8-and-secure-boot-can-i-still-install-linux/ [howtogeek.com]

      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        I guess Secure Boot can lock you into Android as well then.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          It is not *dictated* as a requirement though. It's sad when an OS manufacturer has to try to force you to keep their OS on a device.

          • by ko7 (1990064)

            But this has been modus operandi for MS since the 1980's...
            Nothing new here... just move along...

          • by Joce640k (829181)

            The OEMs have to make an effort to put it on there. I'm sure Microsoft twists their arms but blame them for giving in...

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        You can't turn off SecureBoot on ARM-based surfaces, only on Intel-based ones (eg. Surface Pro).

        The article speaks about Windows 8 which doesn't run on ARM-based devices (the version that runs on ARM is called Windows RT), so what you're saying is irrelevant.

    • by game kid (805301)

      since it is Windows 8 it has the option to turn SecureBoot off, for fuck sake even Microsoft's own device, the Surface Pro, allows SecureBoot to be turned off

      We don't know if it's an ARM system [slashdot.org], which (unlike intel ones, like the Surface Pro--buyers, look carefully for that "Pro") do have the Restricted Boot bug [arstechnica.com].

      but like the issue of UEFI we do have a pretty good idea about it

      Given the above, and that Microsoft can even dictate which archs can turn off Secure Boot and which cannot in the first place...no

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        Microsoft can even dictate which archs can turn off Secure Boot and which cannot in the first place..

        No they can't.

        The accurate statement is that Microsoft can dictate which devices are certified by them and which are not.

        But lets not let facts get in the way of the extreme fear and hate you have...

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        We don't know if it's an ARM system

        If it was an ARM system it wouldn't be running Windows 8.

    • Re:UEFI? (Score:4, Funny)

      by tbird81 (946205) on Tuesday June 04, 2013 @05:45AM (#43903023)

      Every article submitted to Slashdot must end with an inflammatory, baseless statement. It's the rules.

      Bonus points if the statement is about weaponisation or privacy concerns.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)
      Secure Boot isn't a requirement for a Windows 8 install; it's a requirement for a device to be Windows 8 certified. So an OEM can sell a device with Windows 8 on it, and not have Secure Boot; but in doing so they can't put the Windows 8 certified logo on the box. Given that nobody looks for that logo, I don't see it being that big of a deal.
  • by Zouden (232738) on Tuesday June 04, 2013 @03:16AM (#43902699)

    One of the more interesting aspects about this device is that the keyboard-dock can be connected to an external monitor and used as a PC at the same time that tablet part is being used. It's essentially two independent computers that can be linked together to share peripherals and storage. I think that's quite an engineering feat.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can share peripherals and storage from two independent computers for a long time now. The monitor is the only component that doesn't work all that well in a shared environment and that's because of the perpetuation of sending the entire image instead of just the data required to render it on the monitor's host machine. I like to blame remote desktop for that bizarre wasteful method.

      • by tepples (727027)

        sending the entire image instead of just the data required to render it on the monitor's host machine.

        In the case of video, sending "just the data required to render it" would essentially mean DLNA: transcoding it to a codec that the monitor supports, which will likely be a lossy operation. Good luck if you're trying to play multiple videos at once or play games at all.

    • That does raise some interesting power-user possibilities, now you point it out. Tablet as remote display, media remote control, presentation remote control; debugging Android development on a second monitor, regardless of how the tablet is connected (I enjoy debug and test deployment to my Nexus with adb over TCP).

      This is before even considering the possibility of using Linux as the x86/base laptop host or dual-boot OS, though I'm wondering just what hurdles would be to making the tablet/screen recognize

  • Sources say it will be available sometime in the next two years as demand is sure to be hot! Take a look at the Transformer Book timeline for more details. //end-sarcasm

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is it Intel or ARM?
    If it's Intel, it won't run any Android native apps, and if it's Arm it won't run most Windows apps.

    Adding Android to a Windows device doesn't make up for Windows apps lack of touch friendliness, nobody will seek out the Android version of a Windows app, just to sync it to the Windows side.

    As an Android tablet, its very very expensive, low res, and heavy. The tradeoffs to run Windows negatively impact the Android experience.

    Really ASUS already make a compromised device, the Asus Infinity.

    • Re:Nobody wants that (Score:4, Informative)

      by sosume (680416) on Tuesday June 04, 2013 @05:31AM (#43902989) Journal

      The keyboard contains an Intel laptop board. The dispay contains an Android board. Connect the keyboard to the tablet, and the tablet displays the output from the "keyboard pc". Disconnect, and it switches to its internal processor to become an android tablet. Meanwhile, you can connect the docking station to a regular displa and continue using the pc as well.

      • by KGIII (973947)

        I personally don't care but, with the changes in society and whatnot, I'm curious about the power usage as it seems plausible that both CPUs will be running concurrently.

        • On my Nexus 7 tablet, when I look at what applications are using the battery, "Screen" consistently takes 66 to 80 percent of the energy since last charge. So I imagine that even if Android applications continue to run, it won't drain that much more power than a typical laptop's screen alone.
          • by KGIII (973947)

            Good point. I'd noticed that too but didn't think of it. Thanks. It also appears that both CPUs won't be running at the same time if the people posting later in the thread are correct.

    • by bBarou (834305)

      Is it Intel or ARM? If it's Intel, it won't run any Android native apps, and if it's Arm it won't run most Windows apps.

      That's statement not true. There are x86 android devices , The new Galaxy Tab for a exemple. A friend of mige got he Motorala Razr i with an atom inside: http://www.slashgear.com/motorola-razr-i-official-2ghz-intel-android-smartphone-18248009/ [slashgear.com] It runs most android apps, some won't run however.

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        Is it Intel or ARM? If it's Intel, it won't run any Android native apps, and if it's Arm it won't run most Windows apps.

        That's statement not true. ...
        ...It runs most android apps, some won't run however.

        The ones it won't run are native apps, which naturally will not run because native apps by definition are bound to the architecture they were built for.

  • Too many possibilities to list, but frankly I would love to use one of these as my mobile machine. Load it up with all the Windows and Android programs I currently find most useful and use them on a single device with a keyboard/mouse anywhere... I'll keep the large desktop setup of course, and while most of the servers are in datacenters elsewhere so I'm fairly sedentary this would be great for the local datacenter/lab setup instead of rolling the crash cart around. Ok I want it because it sounds like an a
  • It sounds like a great idea because there's less to carry around. As always we'll see how the device performs, how they're going to manage memory (how much memory?), and how much it will cost. Until then, bring on the innovation.
  • All the BBC article says is:

    Its key feature is that it can run both the Jelly Bean version of Google's Android OS and Windows 8.

    It doesn't say it can do both at the same time.

    • by jaseuk (217780)

      Dell tried a very similar thing with a "Linux button" on it's windows consumer laptops. The idea was that a very fast booting Linux distribution designed as a media player could be used, instead of completing a full windows boot.

      I don't think it was very successful. There are parallels to Metro.

      Jason.

      • Dell tried a very similar thing with a "Linux button" on it's windows consumer laptops. The idea was that a very fast booting Linux distribution designed as a media player could be used, instead of completing a full windows boot.

        I don't think it was very successful. There are parallels to Metro.

        Jason.

        It was fucking terrible.
        99% of the time you booted into it was by accident, and 60% of the time you would get stuck in that mode. I don't remember the exact procedure to force a regular boot, but it was nearly impossible to relay to someone over the phone. "Press and hold the power button." "No, the other power button." "Yes, you have two power buttons, that's how you got into that piece of shit media player and web browser mode."

    • have 2 running at the same time off a hypervisor but it seems a bit overkill for this class of device and potentially confusing for the user if they hit the "switch" button by mistake.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I think they need to have a Mini ARM computer inside the laptop for running Android/Linux, and you switch back and forth with a KVM switch. Files could be shared between the two computers using a samba share, or some similar mechanism. Remove the optical drive and you could make room for the Android computer, its own battery, and all the switching hardware. Would actually be really nice to do Android development this way.
  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Tuesday June 04, 2013 @06:06AM (#43903069)

    I thought it was running Window 8 and/or Android on same system; nope.
    Detachable screen is in fact an andoid tablet; when you plug it into the 'docking station' that's actually a full-spec Win PC sitting in the keyboard / chassis.
    If your use cases including running both a tablet and an ultra-PC, could be temping I guess, but hardling a tech breakthrough.

    Try these for more info:

    http://www.engadget.com/2013/06/03/asus-announces-the-transformer-book-trio-likens-it-to-a-laptop/ [engadget.com]

    http://www.extremetech.com/computing/157253-asus-unveils-dual-os-dual-cpu-jekyll-hyde-transformer-book-trio [extremetech.com]

  • But more importantly, can it run Linux? If so, then this would be a truly great device!

  • Hmmm, I'm guessing one could also create another partition and install a full Linux distro as well, though there's no telling how UEFI might come into play.

    What the hell? Android is a Linux distro.

    • By "a full Linux distro" they mean GNU/Linux. Now we're starting to see why RMS would always insist on the distinction [gnu.org]. Debian is GNU/Linux. Fedora is GNU/Linux. Android is not; it uses Bionic instead of glibc, and it uses a different fundamental set of userspace CLI applications instead of Bash and Coreutils.
  • While the summary mentions the Linux-running potential of the device, it fails to address the imagination of a Beowulf cluster of these. I expect better, /.

  • Maybe this is what Windows 8 should have been. Two OSs on the same machine that can communicate back and forth, but have two different environments for operation/interaction. You have the traditional "desktop" version for when your tablet is docked, but then you can separate the pieces and change it to the "metro" style.
  • ...but the Windows half sounds compelling. If I want to run an Android app (which so far has never happened) then I'd just run Bluestacks on Windows.
  • Software compatibility is key, and there's a substantial number of people that rely on Open/Libre Office -- yet even though there's a whole slew of MS Office clones for Android, there's nothing beyond a few document readers when it comes to Open/Libre Office...which drastically reduces the usefulness of a device like this for a lot of people. Hopefully if devices like it take off, developers will notice the niche waiting to be filled and we'll start to see Android ports...

  • The Transformer Book Trio is actually two computers - an Atom-based tablet that runs Android plus a i7-equipped keyboard/CPU that runs Windows 8. This article http://www.zdnet.com/asus-doubles-down-with-the-transformer-book-trio-7000016269/ [zdnet.com] states it a bit more clearly.

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