The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, an Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet with a 10.1-inch screen and an optional QWERTY dock, made its U.S. retail debut today, and it’s flying off of store shelves. Amazon and Target appear to have already sold out of initial stock of the unit, and Best Buy’s website currently says that the $400 tablet is backordered, too. ASUS announced the Eee Pad Transformer late last month, and it’s equipped with a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 1.2-megapixel camera for video chat, a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera, and it’s rated for up to 9.5 hours of battery life. There’s no word on when U.S. stock will be replenished, although Best Buy’s “ship to store” option says the unit usually ships to the store within 3 to 5 days.
Asus created a lot of buzz with its cool Android tablet called the Eee Pad Transformer when the tablet was unveiled a few months back. Asus had previously warned that the tablet would have low supply at launch and that it would be prioritizing the UK for the launch. The launch day was reported to be April 26 a few days ago and that day is here. Asus has the official launch page up on its website with links to all of the sellers that are carrying the Transformer at launch.
If you are looking for the Transformer on launch day, you need to start looking early. Apparently, many of the sellers of the tablet are already out of stock. The good news is that there are 24 different companies offering the tablet with some of them being big names and some being smaller firms. Among the big names are Walmart.com, Target.com, Amazon, buy.com, Fry’s, Newegg, Sears, Staples, and a lot more.
If you find a site with stock let us know in the comments. The transformer is an Android 3.0 tablet that has an optional docking station with a keyboard and extended battery. When docked the keyboard turns the Transformer into a little netbook. With the keyboard attached, the tablet is good for 16 hours of run time and the tablet alone is good for 9.5 hours. The Transformer runs a Tegra 2 processor.
[via Android Community]
If you’ve been excited about the launch of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer…well, you apparently weren’t the only one, and we hope you’ve already grabbed yours. Amazon made the Transformer available for sale in the US early this morning…and was sold out within just a few minutes. Likewise, Target lists it as “unavailable” and BestBuy.com already has it showing up as “backordered.” We don’t know how many were made available for this first-round release, but apparently it was not enough to meet the demand for the product.
Honestly, this isn’t that surprising, given that it’s basically a Honeycomb tablet that docks onto a keyboard to make a nice laptop-like device when you want that experience. It’s a very cool device concept, and it’s priced at a VERY competitive $399. That is, if you can find one.
Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted.
Sony’s hosting a press event in Tokyo today where it just made the first announcement: a pair of Android 3.0 tablets — yes, the very two Honeycomb slabs we told you about exclusively back in February. The first is the Qriocity-focused 9.4-inch S1 media tabletwith both front- and rear-facing cameras and a curved wrap design that resembles a folded magazine.
The S1 features a Tegra 2 SoC and customized “Quick and Smooth” touch panel UI with “Swift” web browser. It can also be used as a remote control for Sony gear thanks to integrated infrared.
The second tablet is the dual-screen S2 clamshell with its pair of 5.5-inch 1,024 x 480 pixel displays, Tegra 2 SoC, and camera. While it sounds bulky, Kunimasa Suzuki just pulled the hinged tablet from his jacket pocket on stage. Sony takes advantage of the two screens with a custom book-style UI layout for its e-reader app, split keyboard and messaging displays for email, and split display and game controllers for PS One gaming. Both the S1 and S2 are PlayStation Certified, support DLNA, and are WiFi and 3G/4G “compatible” according to Sony. See the Sony tablets codenamed “S1” and “S2” in action after the break on their way to a global release in the fall — possibly sooner in the US.
P.S. While the company isn’t ready to talk prices yet, our sources told us back in February that Sony was considering a $599 MSRP on the S1 while the S2 would likely come in at $699. Still no word on the Windows 7 slider but with the other two leaks official, it’s now only a matter of time.
Believe it or not, we’re several months into the life of Android 3.0, and we’re just now seeing our first Honeycomb-optimized Twitter app. Brought to you by the developer of the Honeycomb-optimized Newsr RSS app (see our review here), TweetComb takes advantage of the “fragments” design feature in Honeycomb and actually makes use of the full tablet screen, unlike smartphone-based Twitter clients.
The gist: You’ve got three columns — your timeline, mentions and direct messages. Scroll down to read through them. If you want to act on a tweet — reply to the sender, retweet, mark as a favorite, etc. — you tap and hold. You can refresh all the columns at once, or independently. Settings are tucked away in the Action Bar, just as they should be in Honeycomb. No extra menu button at the bottom for this app.
TweetComb is still very Version 1.0. It doesn’t yet have support for multiple accounts (a must for some of us), and the list of trending topics displayed neatly at the bottom doesn’t actually do anything more than display the list of trending topics. But these are small niggles, and the developer’s known for quickly pushing out updates.
Probably our biggest gripe right now is that TweetComb is $2.99 in the Android Market. There’s no shortage of free Android Twitter apps, and you just know one of the major players — TweetDeck, Seesmic, Twidroid, Plume, etc. — will bring free versions of a Honeycomb-optimized Twitter app at some point. And if we were first out of the gate with a Honeycomb Twitter app, we’d give it away to bring in as many users as possible before the big boys show up. But for now, if you’ve gotta have some proper Twitter on a tablet, this is the way to go.
Toshiba has finally unveiled their 10.1 inch Honeycomb tablet, dubbed the Toshiba Regza AT300 — at least in Japan. It’s the same delicious bit of hardware we got to play with at CES, and have seen plastered all over Newegg.com as the Toshiba “Ant”. The tablet packs a Tegra 2 and a full 1 GB of RAM under the hood, has both full-size and mini USB ports, HDMI out, and now we learn it will integrate with Toshiba’s other Regza products, like Televisions and Blu-ray players.
The Regza AT300 is scheduled for a June release in Japan, checking in at 60,000 Yen — or about $720. That’s a bit higher than the previous pricing of $449 – $579 we’ve seen, but we can’t base US pricing on the Japanese model. No word on when to expect this in the west, but we certainly hope it isn’t too far off. Hit the break to see our hands-on. [Toshiba (Japanese) via Mobile Burn]
So now that we’ve written a word or three (thousand) about the ASUS EeePad Transformer’s life as a Honeycomb laptop, let’s put it up against one of our old netbooks, the 10-inch ASUS EeePC 1000HE.
And what a difference a couple years makes, eh? On the Eee PC you’ve got an Intel Atom N280 processor at 1.66GHz. The EeePad Transformer sports an NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor. They’ve both got 1GB of RAM, but the Eee PC’s can (and should) be upgraded to 2GB. And, of course, the Transformer runs Android 3.0 Honeycomb while the Eee PC sports Windows XP (or Windows 7 if you feel like upgrading).
The Eee PC wins in the storage department, with a 160GB hard drive. The Transformer has to make do with either 16GB or 32GB.
But it’s the size that really knocks you out of the park. The Eee PC is downright portly when compared to the Transformer. It’s like comparing a Macbook Air to that 7-pound monster laptop your day job forces you to carry around.
It’s Fat Man and Little Boy, all right. We’ve got more pics of the unsightly duo after the break. [Full EeePad Transformer specs]
Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer has apparently confirmed that the company will launch an Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet later in 2011. Bloomberg quotes Japan’s Nikkei as saying Stringer confirmed the slate would drop at the end of the summer, with the US targeted first.
Last we heard, Sony was readying an S1 PlayStation tablet with a 9.4-inch display, Tegra 2 processor and a distinctive curved “wrap” chassis. Gaming, ereader, computing and media streaming is all expected to be included; we’d also expect Sony to do some UI work on top of Android 3.0, too.
We’re having trouble finding the exact Nikkei report, though back in January the paper claimed Stringer was aiming to take the number two spot in tablets, after Apple, by the end of 2012. The CEO suggested Sony’s lengthy development period was so that the slate could be sufficiently differentiated from other Android tablets, and hinted that 3D was a possibility.
The latest Android versions numbers are in, and it remains relatively unchanged from last month. Android 2.2 continues to dominate at 63.9 percent, up from 61.3 percent from the previous two weeks or so. Gingerbread builds of Android 2.3 and 2.3.3 are up a tad to 0.8 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. Android 3.0 Honeycomb remains unchanged at 0.2 percent, which doesn’t say much for sales of the Motorola Xoom, which so far is the only device officially running that build. We’ll look to see if that changes now that the Wifi-only version of the Xoom is available.
Android 2.1 dropped a couple percentage points to 27.2 percent. Android 1.6 and 1.5 are at 3.5 percent and 2.7 percent.
So Froyo rules, there aren’t too many Nexus One and Nexus S devices out there in the in overall scheme of things (they’re the only ones officially running Gingerbread so far), and the Xoom and Honeycomb are just getting started. More data’s at the source link if you’re into that sort of thing. [Android Developer Blog]
Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) provides full 2D hardware acceleration in applications, andRomain Guy explains the ins and outs of enabling it in your app at the Android Developers Blog. Mr. Guy is a software engineer for Google’s Android project, and is heavily involved in the graphics rendering code for both Gingerbread and Honeycomb, and seeing him take the time to further application development for Android is great. He’s also one hell of a photographer, and some of his work has been used as the stock backgrounds on Android phones.
Developers should check out the source link for all the details, but we’ll keep it a little more end-user friendly here. Hardware acceleration has been around for a while in Android for things like OpenGL games, but now normally coded apps can use and benefit from it as well. On the Motorola Xoom, all the stock applications already use accelerated 2D graphics, and third party apps can take advantage of it with a single line added to theAndroidManifest.xml file in the source code. If the app is using the standard set of drawables, all operations will then use the GPU when drawing them on-screen.
There are some other things to consider if you’ve written custom drawing code, which is why hardware acceleration is disabled by default. Mr. Guy takes the time to explain what you need to do as well as what operations are supported if you need to go this route. Looks like we’re going to be seeing some awesome third party apps coming up for tablets running Honeycomb. [Android Developers Blog]