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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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:09AM (#40217021)

    in the photo? or do apple not enforce copyright or design patents anymore?

  • 11.6” with full HD (Score:5, Informative)

    by anss123 ( 985305 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:13AM (#40217035)
    That’s 189 DPI. Not too shabby, and here I was looking at a 1366x768.

    This might just be my new laptop.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bemymonkey ( 1244086 )

      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 anss123 ( 985305 )
        I gave it a quick look. The zenbooks has 4+ hrs of battery life, promising as the transformer may be similar there, but the display is glossy. The review said that the gloss was toned down, but I don't know what lays in that.

        I got an iPad2 here, and that display is too glossy for my taste, but less glossy than my laptop.

        Also, I would like touch. It's nice for scrolling webpages at least, though I don't know how well Windows pulls it off.
        • Depending on what you want, some resellers offer different screens for laptops. Xoticpc is one such place that despite the silly name does a good job. They are where I got my laptop from. When it is available, they offer multiple screen options for a laptop. The one I ordered (a big Sager laptop) had 4 choices, two matte two glossy.

          So if you have a display preference, they can be a place to check out (there are other shops like them). They sell mostly MSI, ASUS, and Sager laptops. Not every laptop has scree

        • The Zenbooks don't have capacitive touch screens, nor do they detach the keyboard to make the main unit a tablet.

  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:14AM (#40217037) Homepage

    If it's EFI setup is locked from the user, I wouldn't be surprised. Asus has done so for their later Transformer models, with no functionally equivalent alternative that does not have UEFI unlocked.

    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.

    • 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.

    • If it only runs windows8, there is plenty of reason not to buy it. I'm fairly certain that if it's not going to be able to do a downgrade to windows7, a lot of people will not want it because of the playskool interface. Asus will probably bring out a bios update to enable other OSes if that happens, so it won't be long before you can run something else on it.
      • 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.

        • Trying to use a desktop interface on a tablet or vice versa is just painful. Witness Unity or Metro and the amount of angry they both inspired.
          • 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 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.

              • You mean it'll be Vista all over again - people will take one look at the horror, then just refuse to upgrade from the predecessor until Microsoft gets their act together. Everyone I know skipped Vista altogether, and kept on using XP until Seven came out.
                • Just curious, I hear this critique all the time. What was in 7 that wasn't in Vista that made you want to adopt 7 and not Vista? Please, no emotional responses, just the facts.
                  • by EdIII ( 1114411 )

                    It was not so much about features, as it was stability.

                    Vista sucks ass for stability and performance. Now, I know, that plenty of people will come out defending it. However, I have *never* came across a Vista set up that performed well.

                    Networking for one, is a complete disaster. From the weird crap it does/did with DHCP discovery because they were oh-so-much-smarter than everyone else, to taking 5-10 minutes to identify a network.

                    I could go on, but it never really came down to features for me. Plenty of

                  • Well, I used both 7 and Vista, but 7 does have a number of features that Vista lacks. Jumplists for one, and Libraries for another (yeah, lots of people hate Libraries, but I like them).

                  • They largely fixed UAC. It was a well-intentioned idea, but Vista's implimentation was very awkward - it'd pop up authorisation boxes for every little change, to the point that it didn't even provide security as people habitually clicked 'yes' every time. Seven changed it around so only things that really needed authorisation asked. Really, though, I think it was more that by the time Seven came out, sticking with XP was getting much more difficult. A lack of new hardware support, the looming threat of the
                  • The main issue with Vista was the idiocy between intel and Microsoft. Intel begged MS to lower the base system requirements of what it meant to be Vista certified. The result was an untested OS, on hardware that should have never been Vista certified. This decision created a huge snowball effect. Vista was not terrible on good, robust, stable hardware (it wasnt especially polished either). What earned it the ire of everyone can mostly be traced to Intel foisting inadequate hardware on us and MS allowing it
              • by DrXym ( 126579 )
                I believe that MS decided that tablets were the main focus of this release and features for desktop / legacy systems taking a back seat. If so it would explain why stuff that should be in Metro simply isn't, such as folders, or the ability to zoom out the UI to fit more tiles into the space. Just those two things would go 90% of the way to making Metro tolerable to desktop users.

                The experience is so borderline awful that I think Windows 8 will be as reviled as Windows Me and Windows Vista were. At least o

              • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

                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.


                it's why even Android tablets are outselling "tablet PCs" nevermind the iPad. Going the opposite way is equally painful.

                Touch devices must have a different UI out of necessity - a desktop interface

            • I think Metro could work pretty well on a desktop if it offered functionality analogous to the start menu but it doesn't.

              Let's be honest, the Start Menu is a horrible hack that is useful only because it's hard to find where the Applications are stored on the hard drive (do you know where the Notepad binary is?) It's something people have gotten used to, but it's not something that is any way a great example of UI design.

              There are other serious problems with Windows 8, but if they can get rid of the start menu, they should.

              • Nothing wrong with the idea of an application menu. It works. It's efficient, it's fast. The big annoyance for me with the windows start menu is the breaking of the cardinal rule of interface design: consistancy. Things move around. For example, I am in the habbit at work of bringing up a remote desktop client with ctrl-esc R. That used to work. Then I ran another program starting with R, and the menu rearranged itsself, and ctrl-esc R did something else entirely! That should not happen. Metro takes the thi
          • Microsoft has a knack for foisting inappropriate user interfaces on victims. Witness Windows Mobile, which was actually a very good mobile OS underneath its hideously dysfunctional skin, but was completely unusable "out of the box" in any efficient or pleasant manner. Nontechnical users bought WinMo phones, fought with them for a few hours, then angrily took them back to the store. More motivated users spent a month tweaking them, and eventually ended up with a phone that was quite nice & a definite ste

        • 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.

      • Not true.

        Windows 7 SP 1 runs with secureBoot and EFI fine. Also every single EFI implementation has an option to disable it since XP is still heavily used and will be used for many years just like OS/2 options are still in many bioses today.

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        it's a x86 windows machine. NOT A STINKING WINDOWS RT PIECE OF CRAP(which mandates lockdown).

      • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:26AM (#40218517) Journal
        Windows 8 looks pretty much like Windows 7, if you turn off the "Metro" Interface.

        Windows 7 = ver 6.1
        Windows 8 = ver 6.2

        Edit "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RPEnabled" to have a value of 0 and reboot. Now the start button works like you want. You don't have to leave the desktop. Put Metro back by setting it to 1, of course.

        I think "metro" is an apt name - it is basic transportation for the smelly masses, and you only see it when it is in your way, or you want to be somewhere else. That said, it is a good interface for people who mostly do just a few things.

        I haven't used Win8 much yet, but it seems pretty snappy - who knows maybe Microsoft made it more efficient for tablets, but you can get the benefits using it like a desktop.
    • "For those snarky folks who say "don't buy it", that doesn't work in practice. "

      Works fine in MY practice.

  • No, not the first... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cyclops ( 1852 ) <rms@@@1407...org> on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:21AM (#40217059) Homepage

    perhaps this could be the first "tablet" capable of running fully Free Software?

    Hardly, for instance... take my tablet, a WeTab. It's a keyboad-less netbook, and has run Fedora 15, 16 and now the just released 17.

    And it won't be the first, as if it uses nVidia, then it'll hardly run well with fully free software.

    • As a company, nVidia doesn't play too nice with free and Open Source software. Then again, they don't sue the pants off the software developers either, so you can mod them neutral. But enough reverse engineering has been done to make most (save the latest and greatest) nVidia powered graphic processors run fairly well using non-proprietary drivers [freedesktop.org].
      • But enough reverse engineering has been done to make most (save the latest and greatest) nVidia powered graphic processors run fairly well using non-proprietary drivers

        Which doesn't help if everything still sold new has the Nouveau-incompatible "latest and greatest". In such a case, anyone who wants to run free software would have to buy used. Is this the case or not the case?

        • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:18AM (#40217993) Journal
          I've spent a fair bit of time over the past years talking to manufacturers about supporting open source (FreeBSD specifically, but also in general) and I hear the same thing: they need customers to tell them that they want it to be able to devote any funding to it. This is easy for server stuff, as it's easy to produce customers who are going to say 'we want to buy 10,000 new machines this month that have 10Gig ethernet controllers with in-tree drivers'. It's much harder to find people saying the same thing about mobile hardware. No one refuses to buy an Android handset or tablet because it has blob drivers, for example. It's getting slightly easier with GPUs, because customers buying them for compute clusters want open source drivers so that they can verify correctness in certain code paths.
          • by Hatta ( 162192 )

            They don't need to provide funding. Provide specs and let the community do the work. The reason nouveau lags is because reverse engineering takes a lot of time.

            • In many cases, providing specs that are clean enough to be published externally is as expensive as providing open source drivers and has a lower return.
              • A major problem is that many capabilities of modern graphic cards are as much about software as they are about hardware. Think back 15 years, to a period when dialup modems still mattered. Remember the hell and grief Linux users went through over "Winmodems"? Here's the punchline -- the hardware itself actually WAS abundantly well-documented. For the most part, a HSP winmodem is nothing more than a cheap soundcard with an RJ-11 jack and some parts to match the signal level between TTL logic and a live phone

      • Some of those SGI people that got badly burnt by patent trolls ended up at Nvidia. I can't see Nvidia opening up their source code while some software patents too obvious to have a right to exist cover just about everything in 3D graphics.
    • by Scoth ( 879800 )

      Not to mention I've been running various Linuxes on tablets since at least the 486/40 Toshiba Dynapad T200CS still stuck in my closet. People seem to forget that tablets weren't invented when the iPad came out and have been around forever.

  • At first I thought, who wants a hot Core i7 tablet running Windows when they can get a sleek iPad or Android device with 10 hours of battery? But it makes a lot more sense as a business laptop that can transform into a tablet (rather than the other way around). Many business users have a laptop dock on their desk and at the end of the day they disconnect and carry their laptop home to continue work, perhaps with another dock at home. This is an extension of that idea. When it's set up on the desk it's exact

  • by WillKemp ( 1338605 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:38AM (#40217111) Homepage

    But will it be fanless? For me, that's the main attraction of the Transformer.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Looks to be fanless, but with lots of vents, more troubling is the battery life if it's sucking down 4, or 5 times the juice, are we talking 3 hours instead of 15? Presumably not that bad, but are we talking >8 at least?? Not much good if it can't handle a working day.

      From the article, the air-vent comment:
      "The tablet is positively riddled with air vents. If we assume that the Transformer Book uses the lowest-power Core i7 CPU, the 3667U (17-watt TDP), we’re still talking about a chip that uses at

      • by Stolly ( 1812300 )
        Depends on the usage.....for office based users looking for something to last a 3 hour meeting before going back to their desks it could be fine.
      • I don't know about your success, but even with a fan I've had nothing but trouble with discrete mobile nVidia graphics chips overheating and giving up pretty quick.

        A thin device with no fan and an nVidia graphics chip just sounds like a recipe for the same overheating issues they've been plagued with in the past.

        Of course, things might have changed with the newer generation chips, but I'm not holding my breath.

        To their credit though, I've had less issues on my desktop systems that have more suitable cooling

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        if it's got an nvidia chip worth having, it better have a mini-fan somewhere.. even the air has a fan, it might not be obvious from looking at it though.

      • The battery is probably just good enough to hold on between switching power outlets. :P
  • And wished (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:39AM (#40217113)

    If you've ever looked at an Asus Transformer and wished that it was slightly bigger, had an x86 processor, and ran Windows...

    ... and then I wished that my boss fired me at work for being an Atheist, and I came home to find my dog run over by a pick-up truck parked in my drive way, and I went in the house to find my wife in bed with the redneck who owns the truck, and the redneck grabs his gun and shoots me in the nuts.

    Well, on second thought, all of that would be better than running Windows.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:53AM (#40217161)

    Well firstly ASUS make Windows tablets equivalent to MOST of their Android ones, the A numbers are Android, the W numbers Windows, it's not new that they make a Windows tablet, they just don't have much market traction.

    So the A500's equivalent was the W500 (which was based on AMD's low power chipset):

    I'm waiting on the A700s (one coming from Acer, one from Asus, and maybe a Samsung unit too), which is the Android 1920x1200 screen Quad core Tegra 3. These Windows tablets don't sell, perhaps Windows 8 will help them, but they're really not so useful on touch screens or low power long battery life devices. Both the Asus and Acer ones are due this month. The Samsung one is rumoured but not released (I'm guessing that's because Apple screen is provided by Samsung and Apple probably got an exclusive windows on high res screens from Samsung).

  • As for the free software trolling - this isn't the first: Android is Free (Apache licensed) software.

    • Android is somewhat complicated. The core parts of it are free, yes (Though I understand google tends to be a little slow releasing the source for the latest versions), but in actual use manufacturers typically mix it with propritary extras and then lock it down hard through hardware - so, even though you have access to the source in princible, you can't actually run it on most devices without the manufacturer's secret firmware-signing key, and the user is kept from having administrative access short of hac
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        So it's just like OS X or iOS.

        • Android is definitely not like iOS because it allows use of applications from "Unknown sources" without a recurring fee. And it's not quite like Mac OS X because the GUI parts are part of AOSP. It's just the Google Play Store and specific applications that interact with Google services that are non-free.
          • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

            There are manufacturer specific Android versions that are locked down as far as installing apps as well. And I bet those manufacturer specific GUIs aren't open.

            The differences are less than you'd like to think.

            • There are manufacturer specific Android versions that are locked down as far as installing apps as well.

              All devices that have the Google Play Store allow sideloading through Android Debug Bridge. Even AT&T phones during the first few months of Android phones' availability on that carrier, when "Unknown sources" was unavailable, supported adb install. This support is part of the Compatibility Definition Document; without it, Google is unwilling to license the Google Play Store software.

              And I bet those manufacturer specific GUIs aren't open.

              There is an official GUI for Android. There is no official GUI for Darwin.

              • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

                To both your points: so?

                Both OS X/iOS and Android are OSs with open portions and closed portions. Both have an open kernel. There are various open GUIs available for both. Manufacturers also make closed GUIs, for both. Parts of both systems on actual devices, particularly cell phones, are invariably closed (the baseband, for example). Manufacturers also provide a variety of closed applications for both OSs, many of which are installed by default and in some cases, on both OSs, may not be removable.

                If y

                • Both have an open kernel. There are various open GUIs available for both. Manufacturers also make closed GUIs, for both.

                  I agree with most of what you say in the paragraph. But the key difference that I'm trying to point out is that for Android, unlike for Mac OS X, a freely licensed GUI is distributed by the same entity that maintains the kernel and the core libraries and is considered the platform's official GUI. This means there is enough of a freely licensed operating system for, say, Archos to sell its 7th and 8th generation devices with mostly vanilla AOSP on them.

                  But if you buy a tablet from Amazon, you're going to get something pretty much as locked down as a tablet from Apple.

                  Did you mean "from Barnes & Noble"? The Nook Tablet

  • by GbrDead ( 702506 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:59AM (#40217171)

    I don't think so. It seems that the Microsoft tax will be mandatory. I don't mind the money wasted as much as being part of Microsoft's statistics. So I don't buy computers with Windows preinstalled.
    And the first EEE PC's were so promising...

  • 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?
    • Ask ARM (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @06:48AM (#40217679)

      They don't seem to be able to make a laptop ready CPU. Realize that ARM CPUs cap out right around where the Atom starts. Ok fine, nothing wrong with that there is a MASSIVE low end and embedded market and ARM rules it. However, it does mean that for laptops, it isn't so useful. It is also lacking features in that arena as well. Really 64-bit is what people are after for desktops and laptops today. The new Atoms can do x64 no problem, ARM for all their chatter about it can't.

      This is all extremely low end, laptop wise too. As noted this particular product doesn't use an Atom, it uses a real Core i chip which is a good bit more powerful and is what most people are after in their laptop.

      So have a chat with ARM about when, or maybe more accurately if, they plan on moving in to the higher end CPU space. Until they have something there, I doubt there'll be much interest in an ARM laptop.

      • Really 64-bit is what people are after for desktops and laptops today.

        That is only relevant if you wish to access more than 2 or 3GB of RAM per process. If you consider that the majority of netbooks being sold only come with about 1GB of RAM, then 64-bit CPUs are essentiallly meaningless. And this even without considering PAE stuff.

        • That is only relevant if you wish to access more than 2 or 3GB of RAM per process.

          Or if you want more processor registers without having to waste cycles spilling them to the stack all the time. ARM, for example, has fifteen to x86's eight. I don't know much about x86-64, but it also has more registers than x86.

          And this even without considering PAE stuff.

          Desktop versions of Windows have typically shipped with PAE off because so many device drivers were incompatible with PAE.

      • Re:Ask ARM (Score:4, Informative)

        by Archibald Buttle ( 536586 ) <steve_sims7@nOsPAm.yahoo.co.uk> on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:04AM (#40218865)

        I call FUD. 64-bit is only "what people are after" because of marketing. Nothing more or less. I mean, think about it, what really is the point of 64-bit?

        64-bit integer maths isn't really a genuine requirement, and on the rare occasions it is needed the impact of performing 64-bit integer maths on a 32-bit CPU is not too immense. As for 64-bit floating-point maths, most ARM chips have come with this built-in for many years.

        Then there's 64-bit addressing, which in reality is a myth, since no CPUs actually support 64-bit addressing. Nobody needs to access 16EiB of RAM, or will need to for several decades to come. I believe that x86-64 chips currently top out at 48-bit addressing, which is 256TiB. 32-bit ARM chips top out at 4GiB, which admittedly is starting to feel a little cramped and is arguably inadequate, but the Cortex-A15 introduced 40-bit addressing (1TiB) which addresses this concern.

        The reality of "64-bit" for x86, and the performance advantages it has brought over IA32, has been that it's addressed deficiencies of Intel's old IA32 architecture. The main improvement derives from the addition of 8 new general purpose registers, bringing x86-64's tally to 16. ARM chips have always had 16 general purpose registers.

        I'd argue that ARM have already designed cores that are capable of playing in the laptop space. Cortex-A15 MPCore seems up to the job to me.

        If you're still not sold on my arguments that you don't really need 64-bit, ARMv8 was announced last November which is a 64-bit ARM instruction set. Applied Micro's X-Gene CPU is based on this.

        Besides all of this, given that their business is designing cores rather than manufacturing it's not really down to ARM to push into the laptop space. It's down to their licensees to put ARM cores into laptop CPUs, and to manufacture them using processes that will allow those chips to run at clock speeds competitive with Intel and AMDs CPUs.

        • by dkf ( 304284 )

          I call FUD. 64-bit is only "what people are after" because of marketing. Nothing more or less. I mean, think about it, what really is the point of 64-bit?

          Being able to address more than 2GB of memory without the code getting horrific. Yes, you could conceivably run up to 4GB with only some problems, such as oddness with ptrdiff_t, but after that and you'd need some sort of manual paging solution with overlays or something like that; it was tried in the bad old DOS days (except with lower limits) and it was truly nasty so expanding to 64-bit (i.e., getting a wider address bus) is much better.

          I suppose the other possibility would be to make the smallest addres

    • These http://www.genesi-usa.com/products/smartbook [genesi-usa.com] don't look half bad. There are many many more on the market, but they are overshadowed by trendier tablets. Maybe windows 8 arm port will cause this to change.

      If you can run a corporate win 8 desktop on arm, why would you want a powerhogging Intel?

      • by Meneth ( 872868 )
        Imho, they do look rather bad. Old CPU, old/small/slow flash drive, unknown amount of RAM. I'd like a Cortex-A9 or above, 2+ GB RAM, and a mechanical hard drive. Where is this market with "many many more" ones? I've searched for a long time and can't find anything except for the EFIKA, Lemote, and a few old demonstrations [youtube.com].
    • This is not ARM, but it is still non-x86 with completely Free software and firmware. RMS uses one, I'm personally waiting for the new quad-core version.

      http://www.lemote.com/en/products/Notebook/2010/0310/112.html [lemote.com]
      http://kd85.com/lemote.html [kd85.com]

    • by ignavus ( 213578 )

      I have the TF101 (the original Asus Transformer) with keyboard. It is effectively an ARM-based Android laptop, with touch screen (and Gorilla glass!), but I can turn it into a tablet whenever I want.

      I love it. I never bother turning it off unless it needs the occasional reboot. It lasts all day - watch movies on the train, read ebooks, play games, surf the web in bed. Very portable entertainment device with enough screen space and keyboard to do lightweight word processing or presentations if I need it.

      I ju

      • My wife surprised me with the TF201 (Transformer Prime) for our anniversary. I agree, very nice setup with the keyboard dock. Essentially a netbook with a touchscreen, and you can yank the screen out and make it a tablet. The battery life is literally all-day, and videos play very nicely. (Converted a Blu-ray to 720p and it looks spectacular.) And game graphics are impressive - current-generation-console level, at least. Only complaint is that the file manager is sloooow and a little buggy for big files.


  • "If you've ever looked at an Asus Transformer and wished that it was slightly bigger, had an x86 processor, and ran Windows, ..."

    I always look look at this sort of equipment and wish that it didn't run Windows...

  • " perhaps this could be the first "tablet" capable of running fully Free Software?"

    I have had Linux tablets for the past 10 years. Fujitsu tablets have been running "fully free software" for as long as linux guys have had out hands on them.

    Why is it that everyone thinks that tablets are brand new? I have had a tablet for over 20 years, My first ran Windows for Workgroups 3.11, for Pen computing.

    If you want a Ubuntu Tablet, go onto ebay and buy a used Fujitsu Stylistic and install Ubuntu. You have a

  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:22AM (#40218015)

    I think for the people who do want decent battery life, the new Transformer running the latest low-power Core i3 CPU, built-in Ivy Bridge graphics, and 4 GB of RAM is all they need. Unlike Intel's past built-in graphics chips, the HD 4000 GPU built into the Ivy Bridge chipset is no slouch at even 3-D graphics, so for most users there is no significant advantage to offering an additional GPU unit.

  • This thing has the specs of an ultrabook plus a touch screen and breaks apart into two halves. I cannot see this being cheap whether the keyboard is sold separately or not.
    • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      original transformer cost me 600 bucks, (32 gig model) i got it more as a replacement netbook than as a tablet, though i do frequently use it without the keyboard I can bring it along without bothering with power cables for up to a week depending on how much i am going to use it, and the power adapter is TINY more like a cell phone charger than a laptop power supply, the fact that the keyboard/USB host/dock is a power booster rather than a drain is just gravy.
  • Just speculating, but the specs suggest that there will be one... Blergh.
  • You could fold up into a toy truck that would fit in your pocket
    and also you could plug into a 240V outlet in the rest of the world and run 120V appliances

  • First of all, Transformer sequels suck.

    Also something that transforms from a PC to a toaster/Fridge hybrid is laughed at in certain social circles.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Asus simply cannot be trusted with your money. My Transformer TF101 was sold to me on the belief--as Asus told review sites like Anandtech--that the dock would be compatible with other Transformer-series models going forward. That was a lie; it was specific to the TF101 and is now effectively worthless to me when I upgrade the tablet in the future. Had they told the truth, I wouldn't have bought the dock (and therefore, likely wouldn't have bought the Transformer in the first place.)

    They followed that up
  • by fast turtle ( 1118037 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:21PM (#40220759) Journal

    That's about all I can say as I've been seriously looking at the Acer Iconia W5xx. The interesting thing is, it's a Win7 Tablet that comes with a keyboard dock and is sized the same as a standard notebook at 8x11 inches. It's also spec'd/priced to compete directly with the same size/spec'd iPad unlike the Transformer and many of the other tablets I've looked at recently.

    As I said, it's sized the same at 8x11 and the weight is almost the same as my 1/2 inch notebooks for school when they're full of paper/handouts and such. So I think Acer has really nailed the form factors and price point they needed to.

    • W510 is still 1.5x the weight and 2x the thickness of iPad, not to mention Transformer (which is both lighter and thinner).

      Also, its dock kinda sucks. For one, it's too light, so when you dock the tablet, it really wants to tilt. It's usable on a hard surface like a table, but not on your laps (so it's not really a laptop hybrid). And the reason why it's so light is because it doesn't have an internal battery for extra juice when the tablet is docked, like Transformer does.

      That said, I do like the trackpoin

  • This will be a great way to compare x86 battery consumption to ARM tablets and cut through the misinformation. The bottom line is: what is the price you pay in weight and battery hours to run Windows?

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson