Today at Computex 2013, ASUS' Chairman Jonney Shih gave birth to no less than 11 products in a span of less than an hour, a surprising rate of fire we're not used to even at flagship events like MWC or CES, let alone Computex. Not bad at all, ASUS.
Undoubtedly, the most interesting and important announcement was the Transformer Book Trio, "the world’s first three-in-one mobile device." The Trio actually consists of two pieces:
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.
Announced at CES this year, the ASUS Cube has managed to get a decent amount of attention for a Google TV Box. Formerly known as the Qube, this angular, textured device came to market toward the end of last month, and I've been living with it ever since, trying to get a feel for the product and decide whether ASUS has something special on their hands.
In reviewing the Cube I wanted to answer two main questions that I think underlie every GTV device: Is the user experience a good one, and does the product successfully make Google TV something I actually want to use on a daily basis?
The fine folks at GTVHacker dropped us a line to say that their new Asus Cube root solution is now available as a free download in the Google Play Store. The cleverly-titled CubeRoot takes advantage of a Unix NFS mounting exploit to install the SuperSU application and grant Cube owners root privileges, sure to be much appreciated by Google TV power users excited for Asus' new hardware. You can pick up the root application from the Play Store widget below, or download it directly from GTVHacker's website.
Looks like ASUS has something up its sleeve for Computex this year, as it just released a rather uninformative teaser for the event. Of course, teasers are supposed to be pretty uninformative, so I guess this one is doing its job.
Throughout the video we get brief glimpses of past ASUS products, along with what could be some upcoming products. The most notable image in the bunch comes close to the end of the video, with what appears to to be a new stylus-sporting tablet:
Of course, there's no indication that any of this is Android-related; given ASUS' past dedication to the OS, however, it's unlikely that we won't see at least one new gadget with our favorite open source OS running on it.
If you jumped on the I-would-like-a-seven-inch-phone-please bandwagon with the ASUS Fonepad, an update should on its way to your device. According to the changelog (below), this one is mostly about optimization and a few bug fixes – but hey, that's a good start on any device.
Bug fixes for game execution, e.g. NBA2k13, Space Hunter, and LINE Homerun Battle Burst.
ASUS is on a roll with the 4.2 updates lately – it started with the TF300 (Wi-Fi) back in early March, and followed with the Infinity (TF700) and MeMO Pad Smart shortly after. And of course, it released full ROM downloads along the way for those who prefer to manually flash their devices.
The 3G version of the TF300 – the TF300TG – is next in line for the 4.2.1 update, which appears to have started rolling out sometime over the past couple of days.
ASUS' Cube (formerly known as Qube), is now up for sale. Yes, the plucky Google TV-packing square we saw at CES this year can be yours for around $140, unless, that is, you were hoping to buy from Newegg.
According to ASUS, the Cube should be launching with three online retailers: Newegg, Amazon, and Adorama. Happily, Adorama is showing the device as in stock and ready to go. Amazon briefly showed a 2-4 week wait, but now indicates the Cube is in stock with a possible one to two day delay "to process." Newegg meanwhile says the device is launching on April 25th, but gladly offers customers a pre-order.