ASUS reveals Transformer Book Duet; Windows 8.1 and Android in either tablet or notebook

During its CES 2014 press conference today, ASUS not only confirmed its plans to release the previously leaked Windows 8.1 VivoTab Note 8 tablet, it also revealed an all new product; the Transformer Book Duet. The notebook-tablet hybrid runs Windows 8.1 or Android 4.2.2 in either mode.

The official press release says that switching between the two operating systems is easy " ... with a single push of the Instant Switch button or a virtual key on the tablet. " The 4.3 pound Transformer Book Duet will use Intel processors up to Core i7 chips. The 13.3-inch display has a 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM. The keyboard dock offers an additional 1TB of hard drive storage. It's supposed to have up to five hours of battery life when using Windows 8.1 or up to six hours with Android.

ASUS did not provide any pricing or launch date information in its own press release, but Engadget reports that the starting price for the Transformer Book Duet will be $599, or $699 if you want one with a true 1080p display. The hybrid is due for release in Europe late in the first quarter of 2014, but the U.S. will have to wait until the end of the second quarter.

Image via ASUS

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22 Comments

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The overwhelming unbiased opinion is that choice is indeed good. I agree. Complete separation is also a good idea just in case a future windows "update" buggers your emulator.

I'm very interested in hybrid OS tablets (Windows and Android) but I don't know if the time is right for those tablets.

Or at the very least don't push the one button.

Personally not a fan of the idea though, would just rather have whatever emulation running in my OS of choice if I really had to have an Android app for whatever reason. All on the same desktop, no switching back and forth. This just seems a bit klunky.

DoDonpachi said,
Indeed the choice is good, you have Windows for productivity and Android for the casual touch enabled apps and games.

Except Windows tablet/touch screen users can already do this without having the hardware dedicate a flip mode.

They can already run Win8 touch friendly Apps and also run all the Android touch friendly Apps without 'flipping' or rebooting.

Making this a feature at the hardware level is overkill.

Mobius Enigma said,

They can already run Win8 touch friendly Apps and also run all the Android touch friendly Apps without 'flipping' or rebooting.

I must be having a 'thick' moment... pray tell... how can you already run Win8 and Android apps on the same device?

kev_gordon said,

I must be having a 'thick' moment... pray tell... how can you already run Win8 and Android apps on the same device?

Bluestacks.

Mobius Enigma said,

Except Windows tablet/touch screen users can already do this without having the hardware dedicate a flip mode.

They can already run Win8 touch friendly Apps and also run all the Android touch friendly Apps without 'flipping' or rebooting.

Making this a feature at the hardware level is overkill.

The windows "Modern" apps are lacking though, both in features and availability. Of course that's just my opinion which i realise will upset a few people... With this you have the best of both words, access to the vast selection of apps, games and emulators available on Android, with the ability to switch back to Windows at the press of a button.

If i wanted another tablet i would actually give this a lot of thought if the switch is instant.

Dot Matrix said,
I think my PC buying days are over, if I'm going to have Android shoved down my throat...

Why? I thought you preferred MS products anyway. Besides, I am sure the same OEMs will offer Windows only versions. This is just another of many options.

DoDonpachi said,
Indeed the choice is good, you have Windows for productivity and Android for the casual touch enabled apps and games.

I have Windows for both.

Dot Matrix said,

I have Windows for both.

Then what is the problem and why are you acting like a drama queen? This will never be anything more than a niche device.

InsaneNutter said,

The windows "Modern" apps are lacking though, both in features and availability. Of course that's just my opinion which i realise will upset a few people... With this you have the best of both words, access to the vast selection of apps, games and emulators available on Android, with the ability to switch back to Windows at the press of a button.

If i wanted another tablet i would actually give this a lot of thought if the switch is instant.

I agree they are lacking still, but they will catch up.

Also realize a lot of the 'experience' of Apps on Android are repackaged Web sites that work just fine on Windows 8.1 in the browser.

They don't work in the Android/Chrome/Safari browsers and this is why 'Apps' have to exist. This is from complex WebGL content, HTML5 graphic rich content, Flash content, and even Java based games/content.

IE11 also has very rich touch based support for web sites, making complex sites more usable on a touch screen based device with IE11.

Windows 8.1 tablets can already run BlueStacks and other Android VM solutions that work well on a i5 class device, with full sensor and touch support.

Bluestacks even integrates the Apps to launch directly with shortcuts to launch from the desktop and that can be pinned to the Start Screen to open a full screen Android experience with the App running.

Windows is Windows, it is NOT a mobile OS. It can run VM software as well, so you can run VirtualBox or HyperV (depending on the hardware) and also have access to full Linux and even pirated iOS and OS X installations running on an 8" tablet.

There is also the full range of existing Win32 based applications that still exceed iOS and Android Apps in pure numbers and functionality. Why mess with a 'mobile' version of Photoshop or Illustrator, when you can just run them easily.

Flipping to a 'closed' Android environment is actually counterproductive, as you have to leave the Windows desktop, where with VMs or Bluestacks, you can run them in a Window or snap them along side the screen.

Side Note...
There needs to be more education on this topic, I still have friends ask if there is an App for Stitcher or random TV site, and I tell them to just use their browser, they don't need an App. http://app.stitcher.com works just fine even on WP8, and the TV content provider sites work normally in their browser interface on Windows 8.1 and often WP8. The same was true of Pandora for a long time, and I had been using it via my WP8 browser for long time before the official App appeared, and the website it still more productive for a lot of these App packaged sites, as the website has more functionality.

Even facebook, the Windows 8.1 App is nothing special, and for most users, opening Facebook in IE11 is a better experience for more indepth content, and 99.99% of all the Facebook developed content runs just fine on IE11, from Farmville and games to even various FB Apps.

(It is these additional features and traditional options that Windows 8 offers that Android an iOS cannot.)

Edited by Mobius Enigma, Jan 6 2014, 11:40pm :

Its a problem in that MS can't get its 'Partner' OEMS to focus on Windows products and make compelling hardware.. aside from Lenovo which looks to be innovating.

This is just one of the reasons MS became a devices company, lack of faith in OEMs to step up their game, many have not... and along with not stepping up their game they are now out to confuse potential Windows customers even further.

MS just needs to cut the cord already with a few select OEMs and go it alone and build up their own Software and Hardware brand

dingl_ said,
Its a problem in that MS can't get its 'Partner' OEMS to focus on Windows products and make compelling hardware.. aside from Lenovo which looks to be innovating.

This is just one of the reasons MS became a devices company, lack of faith in OEMs to step up their game, many have not... and along with not stepping up their game they are now out to confuse potential Windows customers even further.

MS just needs to cut the cord already with a few select OEMs and go it alone and build up their own Software and Hardware brand

There is an anti-Microsoft movement in the OEM community, but this isn't new, there just hasn't been other options for them to try.

Dell and HP and others have 'hated' Microsoft, with HP even shutting down their own Alpha CPU Win2K support back in 1999/2000.

The Netbook age they tried Linux, and after dealing with unhappy customers, they negotiated deals for cheaper WinXP prices, which went on to crush the era of Linux Netbooks. (Linux was even slower on Netbooks, which was surprising to the OEMs, buying into the 'lighter' Linux hype that was gone for a GUI rich experience in 2005/6)

HP has been missing in action for quality Windows 8/8.1 devices, and has been pumping a lot of work and marketing into Chromebooks. Also notice they aren't doing so well.

Acer did this as well, delaying their touch based Windows8 laptops until after the first of the year, and companies like Lenovo filled their void by having actual products with touch screens. Even with a surge of success in Jan/Feb of 2013 with mid range touch based Acer notebooks, Acer still was scrambling and their products didn't change until they shoved out a crap 8" tablet. Which was their fault, not Windows. People liked the OS, but hated the low visibility display.

The 8" tablet market that was waiting for Windows 8.1 is booming right now, Dell and Toshiba, and Lenovo are doing well with it.

(Toshiba messed up in 2013 by offering very few touch screen models, and they also took a hit for it, just like HP and Acer.)

OEMs don't always like Microsoft, as Microsoft pushes for 'certification' standards in their hardware that OEMs don't always agree with, even though it is a better product for their consumers.

Even component MFRS don't like getting pushed forward. NVidia is a prime example, with them still not bringing the hardware up to meet DX11.2 on their flagship GPUs. Which is really silly, as it also limits the OpenGL equivalent features from being used on their GPUs.

Microsoft setting and pushing hardware baselines creates backlash. However, without Microsoft doing this, the PC world would never be so cohesive. It is hard for Microsoft as well, because they could have raked in more sales by supporting subpar and dated specifications. (There is a huge low end Android market they avoided to push specifications forward, specifically 1024x600 display support, etc.)

adrynalyne said,

Bluestacks.

I tried it on my laptop and found it rather unreliable for the apps (ok - games) I wanted to run. If this hardware option works, I'd consider it for my next device. Options are good, and even though I'm moving away from Android, there are a few Android apps I miss.

Awww, now you know how us Windows 8/8.1 HATERS feel!!

Remember what you told us? Nobody is FORCING you to buy this, the company is doing what is best for the company....????