The Asus Eee Pad Transformer may be hotter than many, including Asus itself, expected, according to the company's press release on Monday. Initial demand for the Android tablet and laptop combo device "has been far beyond our expectations," Asus said, and the first UK batches have completely sold out. Is this a sign that a worthy iPad/iPad 2 competitor is finally around the corner? Or is this merely PR spin to increase interest and manage expectations?
It may be a little bit of both. Our interest was piqued when the Transformer first went on pre-sale: the 10.1" tablet on its own boasts the latest specs (Honeycomb OS, dual-core Nvidia Tecra 2 chipset, HD screen) and offers great laptop-like flexibility with the power-boosting full QWERTY dock.
Competitive pricing further sweetens the deal. The tablet with keyboard may be offered in a bundle in the US for a discounted intro price, according to Tom's Guide, but even when purchased separately at the expected US $399 price tag for the tablet and $149 for the dock, the Transformer may give the $499 keyboard-less iPad 2 a run for its money.
Part of the reason the Transformer has sold out completely in the UK (since its April 6th on-sale date), however, is "stock delays due to additional testing procedures" by Asus on the device. Just as low inventory has fanned desire for the iPad 2, low availability of the Eee Pad Transformer is no doubt contributing to the high interest and demand Asus is reporting.
Asus says there'll be greater stock availability in the UK at the end of April/early May. Here in the US, we're waiting patiently for the Transformer to land, and should perhaps expect the first units to fly off the shelves around the end of April as well. If the UK demand is any indication, maybe it's time to get in line?