Computex: Asus deliver the goods

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This year’s consumer product presentation by Asus at Computex involved a lot of talk about cloud computing, or rather Asus Open Cloud Computing, also known as AOCC.

Apparently Asus is hoping that its customers will spend even more money with the company for a range of always connected devices that are meant to make our lives easier, at least as long as we have a home CIO – that’s chief information officer.

We didn’t quite get the message, but at least Asus’ Chairman Jonney Shih managed to wow the audience twice. The first product that took everyone by surprise was the Transformer AiO which at first sight looks like a rather average, if somewhat small all-in-one PC.

That is until you release that the display part can be removed and operated independently from the main desk unit as a rather cumbersome 18.4-inch tablet. It will even dual-boot Windows 8 and Android, but that is actually a fairly unimpressive feat compared to the fact that the tablet part will remain connected over Wi-Fi to the main unit so you can take advantage of the Nvidia GPU inside it.

Asus was fairly light on details as to how this work, but apparently it’s possible to play 3D games and stream HD movies to the tablet unit from the desktop dock. The tablet part sports a mini HDMI port, a mini USB port which is presumable for USB host support, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. The base unit adds four USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader, a pair of audio jacks, what should be an HDMI input, an Ethernet port and a TV-tuner. It’s not a pretty product, but definitely functional.

When it comes to looks, then Asus’ Taichi dual-screen notebook/tablet is far more impressive, as this 11.6 and 13.3-inch device is as slim as Asus’ own Zenbooks, yet sports an internal 1080p display, as well as one what is normally the lid of the notebook, except in this case it we’re looking at a touch screen. This makes the Taichi a tablet and a notebook in one, without the kind of construction and reliability issues that convertible notebooks have suffered from. However, it also adds a lot more cost, but sadly we were unable to even get a ball park figure as to how much the Taichi is likely to retail for.

The connectivity options are fairly slim, with two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, a microSD card slot, a micro HDMI port and what is either a micro DisplayPort or a custom VGA connector. Asus has also included a back-lit keyboard and a switch that prevents the screen from rotating.

Hats off to Asus for trying something different and manage to come up with what is truly a unique product that people would consider buying, as long as the price isn’t astronomical.

Asus also showed off two building blocks of its AOCC solution, the new RT-AC66U 802.11ac 1.3Gbps router – although interestingly none of the products announced at the event apparently sports support for the 802.11ac standard – and a range of NAS products from a new subsidiary called Asustor. Apparently we can expect two, four, six and eight port NAS devices with dual core Atom processors, 1GB of DDR3 memory in a SO-DIMM slot, eSATA and USB 3.0 connectivity and even 256-bit encryption.

Kitguru says: A busy day for Asus.

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