Eee by gum! Asus donned knuckle-dusters and ploughed into the tablet scrimmage yesterday, taking the wraps off not one but four iPad rivals: the Android-based Eee Pad Slider, Eee Pad Transformer and Eee Pad MeMo, and the Windows-flavoured Eee Slate EP121.
Like the Transformer and MeMo, the Slider (that's it above) will run Android 3.0 Honeycomb and sport a capacitive touchscreen. The tablet trio all also offer USB and HDMI connectivity, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. The Slider will come with optional 3G connectivity, but there's no word as to whether the same applies to the Transformer and MeMo.
Unlike its Android siblings, the Slider will feature a pop-out Qwerty keyboard. That should come in useful when your pudgy fingers are tired of poking at the 10.1-inch display.
The Slider runs on one of those fancy new dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 chips, and packs an Nvidia GeForce GPU too. It will come with 16GB or 32GB of storage. A 1.2-megapixel camera on the front and a 5-megapixel camera on the back will satisfy your irresistible urges to make naked video calls.
The Transformer is a tablet in disguise. Slap it on to the optional keyboard dock and voila -- it looks just like a netbook. An added bonus of the keyboard is that it expands the battery life to 16 hours, although Asus hasn't revealed what the standard battery life is.
Otherwise, the Transformer packs a 10.1-inch touchscreen, and the same camera set-up as the Slider. Asus claims its Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU will offer twice the performance of the iPad's A4 chip.
The 7.1-inch MeMo is the runt of the litter, offering a similarly sized screen to the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It comes with a stylus for taking handwritten notes. Usually, any mention of a stylus strikes the fear of God into our black hearts, but the MeMo's touchscreen should be responsive to finger inputs too, since it's of the capacitive variety, rather than the less sensitive resistive type.
The Eee Slate EP121 runs Windows 7 Home Premium and sports a whopping 12.1-inch display, with a 1,280x800-pixel resolution and multi-touch support. It's a beefy fellow on the inside too, running on a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 1.3GHz.
The Slate will come with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, with room to add more via an SD card slot. It'll offer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for definite, and we hope it will support 3G too, although Asus hasn't confirmed this. It'll also have a 2-megapixel camera.
The Slider should be available in the second quarter of the year for between $499 (£320) and $799 (£515). The Transformer will be available at the same time for between $399 (£255) and $699 (£450). The MeMo is expected to be available in June for somewhere between $499 and $699. The Slate will cost around $999 (£640) and should be available in the first quarter of this year.
We'll have a hands-on for you from the CES show floor soon, but, in the meantime, feast your mince pies on our photo gallery above.This is the Eee Pad Slider