Asus chief executive Jonney Shih is an excitable fellow, and today, he was a veritable Asian Steve Ballmer as he enthusiastically introduced the Asus Transformer Book T100, a hybrid 2-in-1 laptop-tablet that will sell for as low as $349.
“This is our game changer for the trend mobile lifestylers,” he said at a press conference in San Francisco near the Intel Developer Forum.
The machine is a “zero compromise” Windows 8.1 computer that can be easily transformed into a Windows tablet. It weighs 2.2 pounds, or 16 percent lighter than an iPad 4, it has 11 hours of active battery life, “so you never have to stop working,” Shih quipped.
The machine uses a quad-core Intel “Bay Trail” processor, and it comes preinstalled with Microsoft Office 2013. That means you can use it as a productivity computer or an entertainment device, as you wish. It has a 1366 x 768 IPS display with a wide 178-degree viewing angle. That means more than one person can look at it at a time. It also has a low-power black-and-white mode for reading eBooks.
“It is a balance of performance and energy efficiency,” Shih said.
A 32-gigabyte version will sell for $349. A 64-gigabyte version will sell for $399. It goes on sale on Oct. 18, after Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 update hits the market, and it will come with free unlimited Asus Web Storage for one year.
Shih said the design was “lovingly” created with “design thinking, our methodology to find the perfect balance between emotion and function, between humanity and engineering.”
Shih said the device was one more example of the company’s history of shaking things up. It introduced the EeePC in 2007 as one of the first netbooks. In 2011, it introduced a Zenbook Ultrabook laptop. In 2012, it introduced the Taichi dual-screen notebook computer. This year it introduced the 3-in-1 Transformer Book Trio that could be used as a desktop, laptop, or tablet.
With a big breath, Shih said, “We wanted to create something that is truly ultramobile, truly affordable, truly productive, truly entertaining, and truly stylish.”