ASUS bridges Android and Windows 8 with new Transformer Book Trio

ASUS bridges Android and Windows 8 with new Transformer Book Trio

Summary: The Transformer line of Android hybrids has been popular with buyers wanting a good tablet with a laptop dock. The new Trio continues the tradition with a few surprises thrown in.

Transformer Book Trio
Image: ASUS

ASUS was the first to produce a hybrid computer, long before Windows 8 was released. Its Transformer line of Android tablets with laptop docks grabbed the attention of buyers wanting a good tablet that could morph into a laptop when docked. The company has upped its game with the introduction of the Transformer Book Trio.

On the surface the Trio looks much like the Transformers that came before it except it runs Windows 8. While it looks like other Windows 8 hybrids, ASUS has packed some surprises in the package.

See also: ASUS Transformer Prime: Perfect for business trips (review)ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them allWhat I want: ASUS Transformer Prime running Windows 8

The tablet has an 11.6-inch screen running Android on its Intel Atom processor. This makes the Trio one of the few Android tablets running on the Intel platform.

The magic of the Trio kicks in when the tablet is docked into the laptop dock. The dock has a second processor inside, and its a Haswell Core to boot. When docked the Haswell takes over, along with Windows 8, turning the Trio into a full Windows 8 laptop. The Transformer Book Trio has two Intel processors and two operating systems making it the best of all possible worlds.

Since the laptop dock has a Haswell processor inside it can be used as a desktop system when the tablet is detached. That's right, the Trio can be used as a modular system on the desktop while the tablet is used elsewhere. This makes the Trio the most versatile hybrid on either the Android or Windows 8 platforms. On both platforms to be accurate.

To round out the versatility of the Trio, users can switch between Android and Windows 8 at the press of a special "Trio" button on the keyboard dock. Both operating systems share the storage on the tablet.

The Transformer Book Trio is the most innovative hybrid we've seen on either Android or Windows 8. The ability to use it as an Android tablet and either a Windows 8 or Android laptop is a very unique approach from ASUS.

ASUS is not providing pricing and availability for the Transformer Book Trio yet. With the ability to use it as a tablet, laptop, and desktop it probably won't be cheap. Whatever it costs this writer can't wait to get his hands on one.

Update: ASUS has confirmed to ZDNet that pricing and availability for the Transformer Book Trio will be finalized in November. Looks like a late holiday launch for the Trio so we'll have to wait.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Laptops, Tablets, Windows 8

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  • I am guessing that with 2nd processor and ability to run independent of...

    tablet, that the have to be 2 Windows OS licenses ? Does sound interesting (but as indicated, expensive). I would want to know the long range roadmap for the device (i.e. will ASUS treat this as a device that is going to have a lifespan of a couple of generations so that it will get updates for a considerable time?). Having the intelligent doc with decent HW and capabilities means that it should be useful for a while if supported properly. It will be interesting to see more information about how this all works.
    • The tablet is Android not Windows

      Atom CPU in tablet
      Haswell in the base
      • why Atom for Android?

        I didn't realize Atom processors were made to run Android. What would be faster, the newest Snapdragon processor or this Atom processor?
        • Search for X86 Android

          I would hope Asus has built from this common project's good work, and fine-tuned it with drivers for their hardware, and enabled access to the PlayStore.
        • What's faster? It depends

          Intel's benchmarks would indicate Atom but ill wait for independent confirmation. Of course once you get it into a system with drivers and all it's another ball game. After a few tablets get out the testing sites will tear into it ... Not that they will produce the definitive conclusion but it will help along with actual usage of the devices.

          There's a plethora of new components hitting the market ... Interesting times.
    • Everybody seems to be looking for reasons NOT to like this kit... why?

      I've been saying for months that surface pro HAS to be the way forward. We're now seeing innovation like this and the device is looking fantastic. We wouldn't need a laptop, tablet, and desktop if we had this functioning.

      Who cares about licencing? I'm only interested in overall cost and if I add my ipad, airbook and mac that's a fairly hefty benchmark. My bet is I could by more than 5 of these for that price (mine is work supplied; I run win8 at home). That will be a considerable appeal... one device, one profile, one storage space rather than all the clutter of synching. Remove the necessity to convert any AV to Apple supported formats and hey.... this is for me!
  • How about those that prefer to use it as a tablet

    with Windows 8?

    It would be nice if they could incorporate the two, let either option to be used in either configuration.
    William Farrel
    • Buy Microsoft's Surface Pro

      With Windows 8.1, Windows 8 will finally be a true tablet OS. And, if you want to run Android apps, install BlueStacks software.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Bluestacks on Intel CPU

        I thought Bluestacks will only work on AMD CPU. Does it work on Intel CPU now?
        • Yes

          It will work too because Intel & AMD share same x86 SOC architecture
    • Agreed. I don't see a compelling reason

      for the tablet mode to run android. Why not just just run windows 8 and pre-install bluestacks for the people that want access to the google store?
      • Hybrid Is Better

        Maybe some consumer wanted pure android OS inside their tablet
  • Finally

    This is the development I've been waiting for. I'm hoping more than one of these comes into the market in 2014 so there's some comparison shopping. Actually, this trio idea is one step farther than I was looking for. I'd like something as high end (and the same form factor) as my Chromebook Pixel that is also a full-on Android tablet... a sort of "laptab," if you will.
  • Two CPUs and two operating systems

    This thing is a Frankenstein. One wonders if danbi, with his disdain for both Android and Windows, had a hand in its design.

    At least the recently failed Ubuntu Edge, which supported both Android and Ubuntu, had a single quad-core CPU.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Shared storage and screen could be tricky

    I would hope the screen is using higher Android resolutions that are typically well beyond the minimal 1366x768 typical of smaller Win8 screens such as this one's 11.6-incher. As i recall the Surface Pro's 10.8-inch has the so-called high-res 1920x1050,so that would seem feasible for both OS's on this machine (not expecting Nexus 10/Pixel resolutions, but ...).

    Will the Android "storage" be susceptible to Windows' NTFS issues, fragmentation being first that comes to mind, although on SSD it should not matter, and malware attacks?

    Touch screen calibration could be "interesting", too, I suppose.
  • Get over it!

    Like I said earlier.... There's way too much talk about problems that might not exist. Look for the positives for heavens sake. If I've got win8 already (and I do), I don't particularly care about a defrag once a year if I can be bothered. Most of these things are urban myths. When was the last time you saw a BSOD for instance? I can't remember and I can't remember the last time I had a problem with Windows. It's years though, not months.

    Who cares about a hi-res tablet? I've got an ipad4 and I do NOT see any difference between it and my ipad2 that would affect my use. Maybe if I was anal and looking at photos all day but I don't... I airport them to the 52" telly. Lets get into this technology without worrying about other stuff. ANd when did anyone have to calibrate and Android or IOS touchscreen? I've used them since they came out and NEVER calibrated one EVER. Wouldn't even know if you could and I'm not going to waste my time looking. LOL