Asus Transformer Prime gets major screen upgrade

Asus introduces the Transformer Prime TF700T, which more than doubles the screen pixel count of the original Prime.

This is the original Prime. Take it in, as it will soon be considered old and busted. Josh Miller/CNET

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 definite sticking point for 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 announced device .

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.

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