LAS VEGAS--Not even a month after the Asus Transformer Prime's official release, Asus has already announced the next version of the tablet. The new version sports an upgraded 1,920x1,200-pixel-resolution screen with a few other improvements thrown in for good measure.
While the "old" Prime delivered images on a 1,280x800-pixel screen, the new Asus Transformer Prime TF700T, as it's called, more than doubles that pixel count, while retaining a 10.1-inch screen.
The TF700T will also see two other key improvements. First, its front camera will go from 1.2-megapixel to 2-megapixel and will now allow for HD video chat conferencing.
Secondly, the TF700T will sport a new back-panel design that Asus claims should enhance Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS performance. GPS has been a definitefor some Prime owners recently.
The Prime TF700T will ship in the second quarter, running Ice Cream Sandwich, with prices starting at $600 for 32GB and $700 for 64GB--$100 more than the current Prime's price at each of those configurations.
As great as the Prime is as a tablet, this has got to hurt for new owners, who not a month into their ownership already have an obsolete tablet.
While Asus says the TF700T was planned from the get-go and that the two versions of the Prime will be marketed and manufactured concurrently, this move feels more like a way for the company to address some design mistakes that ended up adversely affecting the GPS and Wi-Fi performance of the Prime, while at the same time future-proofing it against upcoming high-resolution tablets, like Acer's.
Still, if you just cracked open the box of what you thought was bleeding-edge for an Android tablet, this announcement has got to sting. That's bound to happen, though, when a product is released so close to CES.
I'll return later with some hands-on impressions after my scheduled fiddling with the TF700T.