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June 3, 2013

ASUS Transformer Book Trio: a hybrid laptop running both Windows and Android

If you thought ASUS was done announcing new products here at Computex, get ready for at least one more surprise. The company just unveiled the Transformer Book Trio, a dockable tablet that can run Windows and Android.

At first glance, it's visually quite similar to the Transformer Book we just reviewed, except this time it has 11.6-inch, 1080p screen. And, you know, twice as many operating systems. If you're wondering how that works, there's a physical hotkey allowing you to switch OSs, similar to the setup on the Transformer AiO, which was announced last year at this same show. It's important to note, though, that that hotkey will only work if you have the tablet latched into the keyboard dock; once you unplug the tablet it will only run Android Jelly Bean.

Spec-wise, dual operating systems amounts to dual processors, with a fourth-generation Core i7-4500U processor powering the Windows 8 experience, and a 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 chip handling Android Jelly Bean. In fact, Intel EVP Tom Kilroy made an appearance at ASUS' press event in Taipei to help formally introduce the product. 

Continuing on, dual OSs also means multiple batteries: the package includes a 33Wh cell as well as a 19Wh one. As for storage, you've got a 1TB HDD inside the dock, and 64GB of flash storage inside the tablet proper. If you're looking for a price, ASUS isn't planning on announcing that today, but a company rep did confirm the Trio is slated for a Q3 launch. For now, you'll find a hands-on video and few first impressions after the break.

Not one to do things by halves, ASUS has unleashed (arguably) a new product category here at Computex. We just managed to touch (and admittedly do not much more) with the Transformer Trio and it's unmistakably ASUS-designed. You get the familiar switch-lock mechanism in the hinge to house the tablet component, and the moody metallic finish is the same we've seen on the rest of the Transformer range. We saw the demonstrator flip between Windows 8 and Android with a key press, although it offered no glimpse into how Android will look on the hybrid. Its 11.6-inch 1080p screen was also predictably decent and we had no trouble making out the screen underneath the heavy glare of showfloor lighting. 

Following a brief play on the keyboard, we noted the keys had the same degree of travel that we've seen on the Transformer docks before, but we're assuming we'll get to see more of the software side at a later date -- and hopefully before it launches in Q3 this year.