ASUS Unleashes a Flood of Windows 8 Hybrids at CES

Not content to let its rivals steal the spotlight at CES, ASUS has unveiled a flood of touchscreen-enabled Windows 8 devices to counteract the torrent of announcements made by Lenovo on Sunday. Virtually none of the new Asus devices rock a traditional clamshell design, however—or at least not permanent ones. Instead, every single laptop and tablet announced by the company sports a hybrid-style design blending tablet functionality with PC practicality.

In addition to once again touting the intriguing—but delayed—dual-screen ASUS Taichi Ultrabook, which we’ve already spent considerable hands-on time with, the company unveiled the ASUS Transformer Book TX300CA, c “the world’s first convertible Ultrabook.” Indeed, the convertible Ultrabooks released thus far have all sported conversion mechanisms that flipped the display in some way. The ASUS hybrid’s detachable screen mirrors the conversion functionality of an ASUS VivoTab tablet outfitted with a keyboard dock, but the Transfer Book TX300CA is all PC under the hood, with full mobile Intel processors (all the way up to Core i7 CPUs), 4GB of RAM, and both solid state and traditional hard drive options.

The 13-inch display sports a true 1080p resolution, and that eye candy’s paired with the SonicMaster audio technology powering the onboard speakers. The convertible gives a nod to its tablet roots with a pair of cameras, with the rear-facing shooter topping out at 5-megapixels.

Next up is the ASUS VivoTab Smart Tablet, which rocks Intel’s Atom Z2760 mobile processor and the full-blown version of Windows 8, rather than the neutered Windows RT operating system found in the standard ASUS VivoTab. The ultraportable hybrid measures in at just 0.38-inch thick and weighs a competitive 1.27 lbs., though that doesn’t include the ASUS TranSleeve Keyboard, a Touch Cover-esque accessory that acts as a cover, keyboard and case combined.

Spec-wise, the VivoTab’s 10.1-inch IPS screen offers a somewhat pedestrian 1366 x 768 resolution paired with wide 178-degree viewing angles. SonicMaster’s audio technology shows up here, too. The rest of the build skews more towards tablet sensibilities, with an NFC chip, a claimed 9.5 hour battery life, and dual cameras; the rear camera rocks 8-megapixels with 1080p video recording capabilities, while the 2MP front shooter is intended for use during video chats.

The most intriguing product might be the ASUS Transformer AIO, a whopping 18.4-inch hybrid that blends the line between tablets and all-in-ones, similar to the Sony VAIO Tap 20. The Transformer AIO’s LCD backlit display sports 10-point multi-touch compatibility and a 1080p resolution. When your arms get tired of lugging the beast around, it slides into a dock that transforms the device into an AIO, complete with height and tilt adjustments. 

Here’s the most interesting part, though: The Transformer AIO packs both a third-gen Intel processor and a quad-core Nvidia Tegra processor, giving the gargantuan slate the ability to switch between Windows 8 and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with a single button press. Is there a market for a massive AIO-to-tablet convertible capable of running both mobile and desktop operating systems? ASUS seems determined to find out, though we’re a bit skeptical.

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