The Asus Eee Pad Slider is sibling to the best selling Eee Pad Transformer. While they share similar specs – 10.1″ 1280×800 screen, 1Ghz dual-core Tegra 2 CPU, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, 16GB or 32GB storage, etc., and both offer keyboards, they go about it in different ways. The Transformer is a ‘pure tablet’ with an optional keyboard dock which effectively turns it into an Android netbook. So you can carry just the tablet when you want to be light and mobile, and add the keyboard when you want to do some serious typing. The Slider splits the difference – it hides its slide-out keyboard behind the tablet. So in tablet mode it is a little bulkier than the Transformer alone, but a bit sleeker than the Transformer with the keyboard dock. You always have the keyboard with you, ready to pop out when you need it.
The Slider was originally shown at CES in January, but the release date for the US has been pushed back a few times, and it is currently slated for fall. It did recently get the thumbs up from the FCC, so the launch is probably fairly close now. I think Asus has been a bit overwhelmed by their success in the Android tablet market. We know they’ve had supply issues with the Transformer, which appear to be ironed out now, perhaps this contributed to the delays with the Slider. They may have decided to work out the issues before launching another model.
US pricing on the Slider is unknown at this time, but the Transformer’s MSRP is $399.99 for the 16GB model, and the keyboard’s MSRP is $149.99. I’d hope the 16GB slider comes in under the $550 mark – maybe $499.99? It’d be a $100 premium over the Transformer to have a built-in keyboard, and a $50 savings over the Transformer + keyboard. Obviously the lower the price the more competitive it will be.