Asus Announces Android Tablet with Integrated Keyboard

I know there is a lot of debate regarding Android vs iPad tablets (cue comment along the lines of “What debate, x is clearly superior) but one exciting thing about Android tablets is the variety of creative products possible. Asus has already seen some success with their Transformer series of Android Tablets (and you have to like the “Robots in Disguise” implication). With the Transformer, you can put the tablet in a keyboard dock complete with touchpad. With the SL101, they are taking it one step farther, by integrating a keyboard in the design of the tablet. They are not listing price and availability yet, but it looks promising.

Cool design is fine and all, but what about the specs. You can check out the full specs on their product page, but what stuck out to me were:

  • Android 3.1 (they are confirming 3.2 upgradeable, but offer no timeline)
  • 10.1″ WXGA (1280×800) display
  • Gorilla Glass with 178° viewing angle
  • Multi-touch (10-finger)
  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 1 GHz dual-core CPU
  • 1 GB Memory, 16GB/32GB Storage
  • MicroSD slot (they call it a Card Reader)
  • 1.2 MPixel Front Camera, 5 MPixel Rear Camera
  • Rated 8-hour battery life
  • Mini HDMI port
  • Audio Jack (can be Headphone/Mic-in)
  • USB 2.0 port
I could not find it on the Asus site, but NetbookNews.com mentioned that the USB port supports USB host functionality, which is a really nice feature. I am not a big fan of them describing the MicroSD slot as a “Card Reader”. It is technically correct (it reads MicroDS cards), but most folks would expect more formats from a card reader. You can find some comments about that in reviews of the Transformer at Amazon.
Of course adding a keyboard and a full-size USB port is going to impact the dimensions. It is heavier (960 g vs. 730 g) and thicker (17.3 mm vs. 12.9 mm) than the Xoom, the only tablet I have used for an extended period. And, yes, the current iPad is lighter (601 g) and thinner (8.8 mm) than both.
Posted in: Android related, Tablets, Ultra Portables

7 comments… add one

  • Meh August 15, 2011, 9:20 am

    Not impressed. iPad2 + ZAGG keyboard has better keyboard hardware (logitech), and can be *gasp* a tablet WITH or a tablet WITHOUT a keyboard as needed.

    Also, it’s not made by the legendarily unreliable ASUS.

    1
  • haha August 15, 2011, 4:23 pm

    So can teh asus transformer idiot. Also – the ipad 2 doesn’t have removable storage, or an extra battery in the keyboard, or the ability to root.. or do all the things that apple keeps its users from doing.

    2
  • Bryan Sherman August 15, 2011, 4:53 pm

    I can totally understand why the iPad would be the best choice for some folks, but not for me. The thing I like about the Android market is variety. This Tab lets you have a physical keyboard with you all the time, no chance on forgetting it. Functions as a Tablet when it is slid away. Not sure if I would prefer this or the Transformer, though.

    3
  • thsu August 16, 2011, 11:42 am

    If people cared about attached keyboards, netbooks would still be all the rage. But people don’t care about physical keyboards, which is why tablets have completely cannibalized the netbook market.

    Don’t believe me? Ask all your tablet owning friends if they’ve bought an external keyboard. And if they do happen to own an external keyboard, ask them how often it actually gets used. I’m pretty sure you’ll find that the answer is very few and very little, respectively.

    4
  • Bryan Sherman August 16, 2011, 7:50 pm

    I guess I still say, one of the things I like about Android is the variety. Obviously Apple is brilliant at targeting the masses, and meeting the needs of most, but there are always niches that remain unfulfilled. I am biased since I have worked on lots of handheld projects that utilized custom hardware to meet the needs of the client. Off the shelf devices just don’t work in those situations (and I have seen the wreckage of projects that have tried). Only time will tell if innovations like this will gain traction in the market.

    5
  • Carl September 20, 2011, 7:22 am

    Asus still has bugs to work out in its key board dock. Mine has an occasional mind of its own and will jump from where your typing back to the end of your first line. Or you can be using an app and it will just quit working

    6
  • Carl October 4, 2011, 8:56 pm

    You can say what you want too, but after owning apple and and Asus, I like the Asus and the android platform better.
    Apple plays to many games of adapters cables and pretty much anything else they can to milk another dollar out of you and they do this during a bad economy.
    bottom line is that for most users these are just toys. NOTICE I SAID FOR MOST USERS, not all…………

    7

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