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Windows Hardware

Asus Announces x86 Transformer 203

MrSeb writes with the scoop on Asus's new Transformer tablet/laptop devices: "If you've ever looked at an Asus Transformer and wished that it was slightly bigger, had an x86 processor, and ran Windows, I have good news: At Computex in Taiwan, Asus has unveiled just that. Dubbed the Transformer Book, this isn't some wimpy Atom-powered thing either: This Transformer will ship with a range of Ivy Bridge Core i3/5/7 processors and discrete Nvidia graphics. Like its Android-powered predecessors, the Transformer Book is a touchscreen tablet computer that plugs into keyboard docking station, effectively becoming a laptop (or ultrabook, if you prefer). Rounding out the specs, the Transformer Book will come in a range of models (11.6, 13, and 14 inches), your choice of SSD or HDD, up to 4GB of RAM. All three models will have an IPS display capable of full HD (1920×1080). There's a webcam on the front of the tablet portion of the Transformer, and a 5-megapixel shooter on the back. There's no mention of wireless connectivity, but presumably there's Bluetooth and WiFi; on the wired side, there seems to be only a single micro-HDMI socket (on the tablet), and a USB socket (on the keyboard/dock). On the software side, the Transformer Book will of course run Windows 8. It all sounds great — but Asus kept one tiny tidbit out of its presentation: battery life." Aside from the Nvidia graphics (which, from the looks of it, can be disabled for the on-chip output), perhaps this could be the first "tablet" capable of running fully Free Software? (UEFI evil aside).
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Asus Announces x86 Transformer

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  • by Robert Zenz ( 1680268 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:19AM (#40217053) Homepage

    For those snarky folks who say "don't buy it", that doesn't work in practice. That requires a like-for-like alternative to exist which does not have the encumbrances of UEFI locks.

    To add a snarky comment, *not having one* should always be an alternative.

  • by bemymonkey ( 1244086 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:30AM (#40217077)

    Now if only it had a Trackpoint and was a ThinkPad :-D

    In all seriousness though: If you don't need the tablet part, check out asus's ivy bridge zenbooks... Same resolution without all the uselessness :-P

  • by humanrev ( 2606607 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @04:01AM (#40217175)

    Hasn't the history of tablets taught you nothing? It's precisely the use of traditional operating systems grafted onto tablets which are the prime reason for their lackluster performance... at least until the iPad with a tablet-oriented interface.

    Point being, the "playskool" interface makes perfect sense on a touch-based device. There's a reason most people believe Windows 8 has a much higher chance of success on tablets instead of on the desktop.

  • by Mr0bvious ( 968303 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @05:08AM (#40217361)

    For me the Android tablets are a big win for two reasons:

    1) Good battery performance.
    2) I can pick the thing up and use it when ever I want with out the damn "Windows in installing update 1 of 18".. "Windows is restarting to finish applying updates"... "Please don't turn your machine off, windows is applying a critical update"..

    This may sound frivolous, and the configuration can probably be changed to avoid this. But my last netbook (with Windows 7) was not used too frequently, but every time I turned that thing on, waited for what felt like 5 minutes for it to boot up then get nagged to apply updates, postpone them, etc, then a java update would pop-up, then some other update... What's worse, if I walked away after turning it on (while it was booting, perhaps to make a coffee or get a beer) I'd return and find I missed the opportunity to postpone the update and find the thing shutting down again to apply an update (without me asking it to) - really not a convenient way for a device like this to behave.

    I see tablets and netbooks as a convenience machine not a workhorse, and Windows just sours that experience. Let's hope Windows 8 fixes these short comings.

    I know you probably think I'm just a Microsoft basher, but I'm not, despite being a Linux user I find Windows 7 is a perfectly reasonable desktop OS and don't really have much to complain about. I'd suggest it to any non tech savvy user who didn't want a Mac. But on a tablet? Given past experiences, no-thank-you.

    So I think the likes of Android is safe.

  • ARM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Meneth ( 872868 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @05:42AM (#40217465)
    Enough with the x86's already. Where's my ARM laptop, dammit?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @07:29AM (#40217817)

    They didn't mention price. With all that hardware, there's no way that this thing is going to be in the $300-$400 range that is the norm for Android tablets.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @07:54AM (#40217891)
    Metro is inspiring anger not for being a tablet interface but for treating desktop users as second class citizens and for essentially deprecating classic Windows altogether. I think Metro could work pretty well on a desktop if it offered functionality analogous to the start menu but it doesn't. Everything is shoehorned into the flat, linear tile metaphor and collision between the old and new world looks terrible.
  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:02AM (#40217911) Homepage Journal

    Why? Really.. why? There is no reason Android needs to become a desktop OS.

    I'm sorry, I don't buy the "everything must converge" theory and, quite frankly, when Win8 comes out it will probably kill the idea off once and for all. There isn't an institution that I can think of that will put Windows 8 on their desktops unless they want to drive their users and support people insane.

    However I do believe Linux and Android apps should be ported back and forth... but for other reasons.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:12AM (#40217959)

    So the way it should work is Windows on the desktop runs with a normal desktop, mouse and keyboard UI. However Metro apps can run, and they run in their own window, or fullscreen if the user wants. Basically it adds functionality to your desktop. You can run smartphone and tablet apps, if you find a reason to. Wonderful.

    However instead they try to treat your system like it IS a smartphone, despite of course it being operated by KB + M, and just throwing in classical desktop operation as an afterthought. They really seem to think full screen tablet like apps are the future. They aren't, of course, having multiple windows to work with is one of the big points of a modern desktop system.

    Worse still? They are doing it on their server OS. Server 2012 has all the same metro-ified UI even though it is clearly of no use there.

    This is marketing overriding reality. I'd bet a dollar that MS research has studies that show that Metro is great on touchscreens, not great on KB + M. Microsoft actually does lots of real empirical research on their UIs. However the marketing department probably decided they loved the idea of One UI To Rule Them All and that they could use it to push MS smartphones and tablets and so said "No, Metro is THE UI, make it happen!"

    Net result? People will refuse to upgrade to 8. They'll keep running 7. What's worse is it will create a mentality like with XP of not wanting to upgrade. People will decide 7 is the only "good Windows" and won't upgrade. So in 2020 we'll be trying to push people to Windows 10, which ill be a good OS, but they'll be resisting because "7 is the only good one."

    I am really just getting sick of this fucking tablet/smartphone obsession UI designers have these days. We get it, the smartphone market is huge. That's wonderful, I love mine, by all means let's have good UIs for them. But stop trying to fucking force that shit on the desktop. It is a different paradigm. Hell you see it with Unity for Linux just as much as Metro for Windows. This "OMG SHINY TABLETZ!!!" attitude of UI development.

    Of course in either case the shell can be replaced, I'm not worried personally, I'll upgrade to Windows 8 at work (I'm the Windows admin, I need to know how to use the latest Windows) and I'll just replace the shell with something that gives me a useful desktop, same as the Linux lead has done on his system. However neither of us should have to. These people should be smarter. They should save the tablet UI for tablets and have a good desktop UI for desktops.

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:04PM (#40221427)

    the "playskool" interface makes perfect sense on a touch-based device

    And Windows loses its one strong point - familiarity. Leaving it with short battery life and most likely scary heat issues.

    By the way, I like my travelling arrangement with my Xoom a lot more that the transformer's snap-together concept. For me, operating on an airliner fold out tray is a prime requirement and the Transformer loses two ways: 1) the screen can't be moved around independently of the keyboard and 2) the trackpad adds a lot of real estate to the keyboard that I don't need because I can just touch the screen (and get out a dedicated bluetooth trackpad when desk space is available). The airliner compatibility issue is also why battery life is important to me and why this Windows transformer simply will not do, even if it had a real OS.

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