The big news in the wireless business this week has been AT&T's upcoming purchase of Leap Wireless, which the FCC approved yesterday. The deal has been in the works since July of last year. That leaves AT&T in an interesting spot, since it now owns the CDMA-based Cricket Wireless, which directly competes with the budget-focused Aio sub-brand. Apparently AT&T prefers the more established brand, because the company said it will combine the assets of both under the "Cricket" name.
Android-powered all-in-one PCs are all the rage... or at least that's what desktop manufacturers are hoping at CES. HP is the latest to enter this particular fray with the Slate21 Pro, an all-in-one design that runs any OS you want, as long as you want Android. The 21.5", 1080p IPS touchscreen hides a respectable NVIDIA Tegra 4 system underneath, with Android 4.3 and access to the Google Play Store.
This model is aimed squarely at businesses for a kiosk environment - think hotel business suites or elementary school computer labs.
If you haven't heard of Aio Wireless, here's the skinny: it's a new AT&T prepaid carrier (think of it as an MVNO), and it actually offers some pretty enticing features. Initially, we expected that Aio wouldn't offer LTE service since that would be reserved for a "premium" AT&T experience, but it looks like that plan has been changed – Aio just announced that it is activating LTE coverage for its current userbase (which is currently limited to a few areas in Texas and Florida).
The ASUS Transformer AiO is undoubtedly one of the most interesting pieces of Android-powered tech that we've seen in the past year or so. As a member of the Transformer family it's made to convert from one device category to another, but unlike the "typical" Transformers that we're used to seeing from ASUS, this one doesn't change from tablet to laptop – it's both a full Windows 8-powered desktop PC and a gigantic Android tablet.
Have you ever considered using Android as your desktop OS? According to CNET, Acer wants you to, as it plans to announce a new all-in-one PC that forgoes Microsoft's OS for Google's free offering. The Acer AIO is said to pack a fourth generation Intel Core i5 chip – which is based on the Haswell architecture – so the unit should be pretty powerful and snappy.
The real allure to this new offering, however, isn't what's under the hood – it's the price.
The ASUS Transformer AiO is a strange sort of beast – it's half desktop computer, half massive Android tablet. Here's the thing, though: it's surprisingly cool. I've been using one for the last week or so (review coming soon), and have been extremely surprised at the amount of utility I've found in this mix-n-match device, as well as how well thought-out it is. But I'm getting ahead of myself here – you'll have to wait for the review for the full skinny.