Anybody order a desktop to go?
Asus may have humble beginnings - the company was started by four former Acer employees in 1989 - but today, it's one of the world's largest PC vendors and a heavyweight of the industry. With over 15,000 employees and more R&D money than most, it has the financial clout to launch products seemingly at will.
So when the company announced plans to build a hybrid all-in-one-PC-turned-tablet powered by an Intel Core processor and an Nvidia Tegra SoC, running Windows 8 and Android, it's no surprise that it wasn't kidding.
Meet the Transformer AiO. Heading to UK stores next month with a price tag starting at £999, this is "the world's first All-in-One PC to feature all the performance of a Windows 8 desktop and the flexibility of a tablet."
At first glance, it's simply ludicrous; a powerful Intel Core PC that uses an incongruous 18in Nvidia Tegra tablet as its primary display. Yet, spend some time contemplating the concept, and you come away believing that hybrid devices such as these are a sign of things to come. After all, who can dispute the value in being able to work on your fully-featured desktop and then, well, take it on the road in tablet form.
A bit of both
The idea has merit, but Asus's current implementation is quite literally a mixed bag. Instead of having a pair of devices come together to serve a common goal, the Transformer AiO consists of two contrasting components that each deliver a unique experience.
At its core, the Transformer AiO base station is a fully-fledged PC. Armed with a Core i3-3220 processor on the entry-level model (£999), or a Core i7-3770 on the top-of-the-range configuration (£1,299), it offers a level of performance you'd expect from an all-in-one system running Windows 8. Up to 8GB of memory is installed alongside a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 730M graphics card, and up to 2TB of storage is made available by a Seagate Barracuda hard drive.
On top of that rests an 18.4in tablet with an IPS display offering a full-HD, 1,920x1,080 resolution. Serving dual purpose as a multi-touch display for the base station and a portable computing device, the tablet is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 2GB of memory and 32GB of storage. What's interesting, or perhaps confusing, is that the tablet runs a different operating system to the base station; Android as opposed to Windows 8.
What we have here, then, is an Android tablet sat atop a Windows 8 PC. Before we examine how the two coexist, let's take a closer look at the individual parts.