DEMONSTRATING a product with the wrong operating system might not be the best way forward but Asus only had an Eee Slider with Android 2.2 on it for The INQUIRER to play with.
At the educational technology conference The INQUIRER got to try out the Asus Eee Slider. It will arrive in the UK in the third quarter with a WiFi version and a 3G model should tip up in the fourth quarter.
The tablet today has a 10.1-inch display, a slide-out Qwerty keyboard, hence the name, and it is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 chip. It also has an Nvidia GPU and 1.2MP front facing camera plus a 5MP rear facing camera. Asus claims that its battery is 8 hours.
The early prototype that The INQUIRER played with did not have the final mechanism for sliding the keyboard out. With up to eight moonths before Asus will release it, anything could happen to the specifications above. Asus is claiming that the OS should be Android 3.0 Honeycomb, or it could be Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
But for now the tablet seemed usable enough for a demo with a USB port, SD card slot and VGA and HDMI out. With the HDMI it can output HD 1080p but the screen resolution is a bit lower than that.
Light in the hand, the 10.1-inch tablet didn't seem that big and one hand operation was easy. It has the usual home and back buttons on the right hand side that you often get with Android tablets.
The OS operation was fluid but the number of applications on the app homepage seemed fewer than you would see on an Android 2.2 phone. But still, the tablet does also act as an e-reader. Playing video the pictures looked smooth and the camera produced a satisfactory picture despite being only a 1.2MP.
The applications such as email ran smoothly although multi-tasking wasn't attempted. The keyboard felt comfortable to use for typing out a message and its slightly raised keys gave a satisfactory click when hit.
Overall the first impression was that of a tablet that was easy to use, familiar with its current OS, with hardware more than capable of delivering the fluid performance that reflects users' experiences with desktops.
However, with no actual product going to appear for up to eight months, maybe at the end of the third quarter, competing products could make the Slider look very old hat by then. µ