We may be a full day away from the official commencement of Computex 2011, but it would seem that many OEMs are already jumping the gun by offering members of the press the opportunity to catch a sneak peak of various unreleased products before the event's official launch, and ASUS is clearly no exception to the rule. Join us as we bring you the sneak preview of the Taiwanese OEM's new range of groundbreaking products which reportedly boast the potential to have a "lasting impact on family entertainment and mobile lifestyle". (*Updated with the complete range of products unveiled at the press conference today!)
Most of us like to think of ourselves as "nice little boys" who toe the line and avoids getting into other people's black books, and for good reason. After all, there is a reason why the saying "you reap what you sow" was coined: clearly, nice people who have the discipline to stick to their values will ultimately get rewarded at the end, right? Well, none of that is about to happen today: apparently, there are rewards to be had even if one breaks the rules, and that was well demonstrated by ASUS today in a press conference held at the Le Meridien hotel today, where the company spectacularly broke its silence over its new consumer electronic products for 2011.
Needless to say, the biggest draw of today's press conference was the introduction of ASUS's tablet-smartphone hybrid, which, quite unimaginatively, has been officially revealed to the Padfone. Apparently, ASUS's staff spent too much brain power on ironing out the designs of this first-of-its-kind device and neglected to allocate enough resources into choosing a more sexy-sounding name befitting it. But that's okay; after all, 'Padfone' sounds endearing in its simplicity. And we Singaporeans are no stranger to simplicity; after all, it was us who made headlines by spending good money to officially name Marina's bay as Marina Bay.
Jokes aside, the Padfone is touted as the end-product of ASUS's innovative DNA, and we are inclined to take their word for it. As most rumours would have already suggested, the Padfone's uniqueness stems from the fact that users can dock the accompanying smartphone into a small compartment located at the Padfone's rear to instantly convert the smartphone into a full-fledged tablet device. According to ASUS, the Padfone was conceived as an answer to the hassle involved in possessing multiple SIM cards for different mobile devices. By merging the smartphone and the tablet into a single dockable device, users are now able to use just one SIM card to satisfy their mobile communication needs across two different devices.
ASUS also claims that the user experience between using the Padfone as either a smartphone or as a tablet device is designed to be as seamless as possible, with the device automatically adjusting the layout and orientation of any running application's user interface in order to make the most out of the either the tablet's or the smartphone's display size. However, ASUS would not divulge any further information about the Padfone, such as the firmware version the smartphone is running off on (although it appears to be a customized version of Froyo) and whether the tablet component of the Padfone has its own operating system preloaded into it or not. However, ASUS did reveal that the tablet component of the Padfone can be used to extend the smartphone's battery life by a decent multiplier, which suggests that the "docking station" has its own dedicated battery pack which can be used as a mobile charger for the Padfone's smartphone.
That being said, you'd be wrong if you thought that the Padfone is the only mobile device that was unveiled in ASUS's rule breaking press conference today. Also announced was a new 7-inch tablet known as the Eee Pad MeMO 3D. Which, as its name clearly suggests, is capable of 3D display, and runs off the "latest version of the Android operating system". Of course, ASUS has conveniently chosen not to provide any further details about the operating system, although we gather that the Eee Pad MeMO 3D should be based off Honeycomb 3.1, considering how that version was recently released at the Google I/O conference. Also, ASUS claims that the Eee Pad MeMO 3D utilizes an IPS LCD panel for its display.
ASUS also spoke briefly about its upcoming Eee Pad Slider, which is a tablet that comes with its own built-in QWERTY keyboard and was first announced at CeBIT this year. As it turns out, the Taiwanese OEM has confirmed that the Slider will be coming soon, although it remains extremely tight-lipped about anything else related to it.
Also unveiled at today's press conference were a variety additions gracing ASUS's notebook, netbook and desktop PC product lines. We shall start with the new ASUS UX series of ultraportable and ultra-thin notebooks.
Claimed by ASUS to be the product of close cooperation with Intel, the ASUS UX Series of notebooks sport a chassis which is built out of "strong but light aluminum alloy", comes with a unique "spun" finishing touch on the polished surfaces and measures a mere 17mm in thickness. However, the hardware used to power the UX Series of notebooks are anything but lightweights, for providing the notebook's processing power is Intel's next-gen Core series of mobile processors. While ASUS made no mention about the processor choices available for the UX series notebooks, it did reveal that certain variants will sport a mobile i7 processor. Lastly, the UX series of notebooks will also sport 6Gb/s SSDs and the Instant On feature.
ASUS's Eee PC also saw a new addition to the family today, and it comes in the form of the Eee PC X101, which comes preloaded with Intel's very own MeeGo operating system instead of the typical WIndows 7 Starter which usually comes preloaded on such devices, and has options for standard mechanical hard disks or SSDs for faster data read/write speeds. That being said, ASUS was also quick to address any fears of OS migrations by revealing that the X101 netbooks will also be offered with Windows 7.
Last but definitely not least, ASUS also unveiled two new product lines which utilize its proprietary SoundMaster audio technology: the N series of notebooks and the new 27-inch ET2700XVT all-in-one desktop PC.
Like the ASUS NX90 notebook before them, the N series of notebooks are designed to offer a combination of both "stunning design and the very latest mobile technology and legendary SonicMaster audio". Available in 15-inch and 17-inch form factors, the N series are powered by Intel's Sandy Bridge platform and sports USB 3.0 ports along with "the addition of a dedicated external subwoofer for deep bass extension", a feature which ASUS claims is impossible to achieve on any notebook without it. The 27-inch ET2700XVT, which also offers the same SonicMaster audio found in the N-series notebooks, sports features such as the availability of HDMI-in ports and a digital TV tuner, while its display supports an "ultra-wide" viewing angle of up to 178 degrees and multi-touch recognition of up to 10 points.