The Asus Transformer Prime: the first Android device to ship with a quad-core chip, courtesy of NVIDIA's brand new Tegra 3 (Kal-El) CPU. But there's more of a hook here than power alone - Asus has gone back to the drawing board for the Prime (model number TF201) and revamped the device from nearly head to toe compared to its predecessor, the TF101. It's substantially thinner, lighter, and more attractive than the rather portly 101, while packing a much more powerful CPU, better display, and reportedly better battery life. But can they really improve upon all those aspects without cutting any corners?
|Aaron Gingrich||Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.|
Around midday yesterday, I received my review kit for the Transformer Prime, complete with dock, wireless gamepad, and HDMI cable - meaning I'm well equipped to take a deep dive into the hottest new tablet to hit stores. But to be completely honest, an in-depth review on a product this brand-spanking-new requires more hands-on time than can be had in two days. The full review will be up on Friday, but in the interim, enjoy the initial impressions and gadget porn below.
First up, let's run over the specs, largely from our official announcement post:
- 10.1-inch SuperIPS + display with Gorilla Glass
- 1.3GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 Processor with 12-core GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 32GB or 64GB internal storage with microSD card slot
- microHDMI port
- 8MP F2.4 rear shooter with continuous flash for video recording, 1.2MP front camera (1080p camcorder!)
- 8.33mm thin
- 586g (1.29 lbs.)
- 12 hour battery life playing 720p video, 18 hours with keyboard dock
- Metallic spun finish
- Two available colors: Amethyst Gray and Champagne Gold (show below, respectively)
- Android 3.2.1 - will be updated to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) as soon as possible after release
- $499 for 32GB model, $599 for 64GB, and $149 for the dock
- North American availability is expected to begin the week of 12/19 - this is straight from Asus's mouth in the Prime details that were sent to us (and again confirmed a few hours ago), contrary to the other "official" date of December 8 that we heard earlier today.
Inspired by both the poll on ideal phone screen size and last week's poll on which orientation you use your tablet, I'm curious to see what your ideal tablet screen size is. So far, it seems 10" is the standard for full-fledged tablets, 7" for e-readers and "tablet-lite" devices, and there's a gamut of sizes in between (and below) for all different purposes - but which is right for you? Sound off in the poll, then head to the comments to discuss.
Remember the upcoming HTC Ville that we heard about earlier this month? Pocketnow has snagged what seems to be an official render, and the image reveals a device swathed in brushed aluminum - not to mention, as rumored, the Ville does look like it will check in at under 8mm thick.
Other details remain the same as what we've heard before:
- Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display
- 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor
- 8MP rear shooter (the same one that's reportedly in the Edge) with 1080p video
- Metal construction
- Less than 8mm thick
- 1650mAh battery
- Sense 4.0
- Beats Audio
HTC is expected to reveal the Ville at MWC in February, to be released in April.
A leaked Black Friday ad for Best Buy has surfaced on BFads.net, and one particular deal stands out among the many to be had: an Asus Transformer 16GB (Wi-Fi) for just $250. Despite the fact that it's getting a bit long in the tooth by now (having been launched on March 30) and its successor is right around the corner, the Transformer is still a hell of a tablet and, at $250, is an absolute steal.
In my review of the Galaxy Tab 8.9, I found that performance didn't seem to be quite up to snuff. A commenter noted that that was reportedly because the Tab 8.9 was designed to be used portrait mode, so the system has to rotate what's on the screen by 90°. And surprisingly enough, when I took another look at the tablet I noticed that it seemed to be true - things were smooth as can be when using it in portrait mode - it's simply that, unless an app requires it, I always use tablets in landscape.
So I'm curious: excluding when apps require a certain orientation, which way do you use your tablet the most?
Google debuted its official music store this week, and it's clear that the company has made a serious effort to bring to market a product that is geared towards consumers and artists alike. But can it crack a market that's already well-saturated (not to mention lead by the juggernaut that is iTunes)? Let's take a quick look at some of our post-launch coverage of the service:
- Google Music is now out of beta. Contrary to what was initially planned, the cloud music service will remain free up to 20,000 songs.
In what is undoubtedly one of the coolest mods I've seen in months, developer picard666 has released an interactive Mario lockscreen for MIUI. So awesome, in fact, that words can't properly describe it. Take a look at the "diagram":
The top cloud shows the current time, and the two clouds below show calls and messages (left and right, respectively). To unlock into calls or messages, you take control of Mario and have to make him hit the corresponding coin box - a coin pops out (optionally with the accompanying sound), then your phone launches the appropriate app. To unlock normally, just have him jump into the pipe to the right of the boxes.
Kairosoft, maker of the many popular Story games (such as Game Dev Story and Grand Prix Story), has released a new game called World Cruise Story. As with the other games, the title really says it all: your objective is to manage a cruise liner from top to bottom in order to meet objectives and make money, much like old-school games such as Sim City or Roller Coaster Tycoon.
Packt Publishing is back again with another new book, and to celebrate, we've teamed up for a giveaway. The book in question is Android 3.0 Animations: Beginners Guide, available now for $41 for a print copy or just $23 for the eBook (or $45 for both).
Written by Alex Shaw and spanning 304 pages, the book is devoted entirely to what is (sadly) an oft-neglected aspect of Android development: creating and utilizing animations. Though the emphasis is on Android 3.0+, many of the techniques can be used for previous versions of Android. You may be asking yourself why you would deal with animations in particular?