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from the L.A. Times

Asus Transformer Prime available for pre-order

Asus Transformer Prime pre-order

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime doesn't yet have a solid release date, but the 10.1-inch tablet is available for pre-order.

Asus has launched the site asustablets.us which links to Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, GameStop and Tiger Direct, where the Transformer Prime is on pre-sale in the U.S., as well as Canada's Future Shop and NCIX.

Selling at a price of $499 for 32-gigabytes of built-in storage, or $599 for 64-gigabytes of storage, the Transformer Prime features a 10.1-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, 1-gigabyte of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The tablet will also have a mini-HDMI port for connecting to an HDTV and a microSD card slot for added storage.

But the bigger draws of the Transformer Prime, so far, have been the potential performance might of the device's Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor. Asus has also said the slate will be among the first to run Google's new Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

Quad-core processors, so far, have been found only in desktop computers and high-end laptops. Whether or not this will result in a better tablet, with tangibly superior performance over dual-core tablets such Apple's iPad 2, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom, among others, remains to be seen.

But the PC comparisons aren't lost on Asus. For a price of $149, the Taiwanese company is making available a full-sized keyboard and trackpad dock that will allow the Transformer Prime to mimic the look (and ideally the operation) of a laptop.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screenshot of Asus' website, which links to retailers selling the new Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet on pre-order. Credit: Asus

 
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