Transformer Duet: Asus unveils tablet/laptop that uses both Windows and Android at CES

Asus unveiled its Transformer Duet, a tablet/laptop that uses both Windows and Android, on Jan. 6 at CES in Las Vegas. (Asus)
January 6, 2014

New smartphones and a brand new 2-in-1 tablet dominated Asus’s announcements at International CES Monday, as the company added half a dozen products to its consumer electronics lineup.

The major pitch of the day was the Transformer Duet, a 2-in-1 tablet and laptop that also runs both Microsoft’s Windows and Google’s Android operating systems. Asus chairman Jonney Shih said that the 2-in-1 was an important innovation for Asus as it responds to the flagging PC market.

The $599 device has a switching button on its keyboard that allows users to go between the two operating systems. Switching from Windows to Android and back took about two or three seconds in a brief hands-on session after the conference, and Asus reps indicated it shouldn’t take too much longer even when programs are running.

The company also showed off a handful of new phones called Zenfones, in 4-, 5- and 6-inch sizes. The models will cost $99, $149 and $199, though the company didn’t make any mention of U.S. availability.

Some of the models have their own unique capabilities. The 5-inch phone, for example, allows users to operate the device even while wearing gloves; the 6-inch will recognize any pencil or normal pen as a stylus input.

Asus also unveiled an update to its Padfone line -- the Padfone mini, which has a 4-inch smartphone that docks into a 7-inch tablet if users want a bigger screen. The line is one of Asus’ most popular around the world, but has yet to see a U.S. release.

That will change in 2014, Shih said. The PadFone X, which combines a 5-inch smartphone with a 9-inch tablet dock, will be coming exclusively to AT&T sometime this year, the company said, though it still hasn’t released an exact date or price.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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