Asus has long been a niche brand trying to break into the mainstream but two of their upcoming products won’t help their cause. The Transformer Prime and Padfone scream geek. They’re clearly aimed at the techie demographic that’s increasingly getting the cold shoulder from the top CE brands. And why not? The Transformer Prime seems like a worthy successor to the original and the Padfone looks mighty fun although not that practical. Asus (hopefully) doesn’t expect to sell these products to your mom. They want you to buy ’em.
Asus CEO and resident salesman Johnny Shih recently took the stage with Walt Mossberg at the AsiaD conference where he revealed the sleek convertible Transformer Prime tablet. A 10-inch display is opposite the Zenbook-styled backplate revealed yesterday in the cryptic teaser video. It runs a quad-core NVIDIA chip and draws power from a 14.5-hour battery. Of course there’s an optional keyboard dock. Johnny didn’t reveal the pricing or launch date but Asus plans on detailing the tablet in full at an official launch event on November 9th.
The Asus Padfone made a Computex Taipei debut back in May but Asus still isn’t ready to ship the tablet/cell phone hybrid. The strange contraption is currently set for a Q1 2012 release, which means it will probably be a mainstay at Asus’ CES booth. But when it finally does ship, it will do so in style with Ice Cream Sandwich.
The Transformer Prime and Padfone are not real iPad competitors. The iPad success comes from reaching an audience that doesn’t care about quad-core processing or even know what it is. And that’s fine. The techie crowd is largely ignored by tablet makers chasing the Apple. Hitting outside the norm is a strategy has largely worked well for Asus, who with the original Transformer, underestimated demand as the tablet quickly sold out. Instead, Asus is going after consumers that care about multitasking, open source operating systems, modding and the signification of the Prime designation. If Android tabs can’t beat the iPad, (they can’t) Asus is wisely targeting the growing market that doesn’t want an iPad. The Transformer Prime, with his ally in disguise, the Padfone, will lead this charge.
[image courtesy of Engadget]