Asus: Quad-Core Tablet Incoming, Padfone Still Happening

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A wave of quad-core Android tablets is nearly upon us, and Asus wants to be leading the charge.

At the AsiaD conference in Hong Kong, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih said the company is working on a sequel to its Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet, called the Transformer Prime. The Prime will be powered by Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor, and will have a 10-inch display, 14.5 hours of battery life and a thickness of just 0.33 inches, Engadget reports.

(LIST: Eight New Tablets and Ultrabooks You Should Know About)

Like its predecessor, the Transformer Prime will also connect to a keyboard and trackpad accessory that effectively turns the device into an Android laptop. The Transformer Prime will probably ship with Android Honeycomb, but Shih said to expect Android Ice Cream Sandwich in its tablets by the end of the year, or maybe sooner.

I like the Transformer concept, although I think it’d work better as a Windows 8 tablet, switching between the tablet interface and the desktop software designed for trackpads and keyboards. Still, the Transformer Prime is worth watching for that quad-core processor alone, and because of Asus’ tendency to keep prices low. (The existing Eee Pad Transformer costs $400 without the laptop accessory.)

Shih also said that Asus’ Padfonewill ship in the first quarter of next year. The Padfone, as the name suggests, consists of a 4.3-inch smartphone that nestles into 10-inch tablet, allowing both devices to access the same data, using a single mobile broadband connection. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m curtailing my excitement until we see some prices and commitments from wireless carriers. And if the Padfone doesn’t get a laptop dock of its own—allowing it to be three devices in one—I’ll be a little disappointed.

MORE: Android Ice Cream Sandwich Explained

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