Although a smartwatch and a pair of lens cameras have been the talk of IFA in Berlin, Microsoft wanted to remind everyone that new Windows computers are also being introduced. The most interesting one to me, however, is one that Microsoft omitted: The new Asus Transformer Book Trio. Why did Microsoft neglect to mention it? Perhaps because it’s both a Windows PC and an Android tablet.
I like this double-duty approach for a few reasons but mainly because it supports several actual uses. It’s like getting three different devices for the price of one. Unfortunately, Asus hasn’t shared the price just yet.
It looks like a standard Asus Transformer device, which is a touchscreen tablet that can dock into a keyboard. Hidden inside the dock, however, is an Intel Haswell chip that powers Windows 8. Asus calls the dock a “PC Station” because you can connect it to an external monitor for running Windows. Or you can simply dock the 11.6-inch tablet to use for your Windows monitor, making the device look like a Windows laptop.
In the display is an Intel Atom chip, which can run Android 4.2. Effectively, this overall device is actually comprised of two computers then. When the display is docked, you have your choice of Windows or Android. Undock the tablet and you have Android only, but that also allows a second person to use Windows on the PC Station. Or if you’re a big-time multitasker, you could use the Android tablet and Windows through the dock and external monitor at the same time.
Both parts, the keyboard dock and the tablet have separate batteries, so they’re both truly mobile devices. Asus says the Transformer Trio will run for 13 hours in Android mode or 5 hours running Windows. Each part has its own wireless radios as well: 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 in the PC Station and 802.11n Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth 3.0 in the tablet.
Again, I like the concept: You get a touchscreen for two different operating systems and you can switch between platforms at the touch of button.