Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Transformers... tablets hard to find?!?


I can never get bored of that song.

Seems like Asus has their own iPadesque shortage going on as it's very hard to find their new Android/Honeycomb Tranformer tablet not only in stores but online. What's all the hubbub about? Well, for one, this is one of the few Honeycomb tablets with hardware that is better or as good as the iPad, matches it in battery life and beats it in price.

In addition, as you can see by the picture above, it has a keyboard docking station that not only gives it netbook functionality but also 6 more hours of battery life. Reviews have been positive (search Youtube for all the hands-on videos) and reports are that Asus cannot keep up with demand. XDA developers even has a thread that has been tracking where to buy the Transformer and is currently over 7500 posts long:

It even has a page that tracks availability and history:

The interesting thing is that the national chains never actually had them on the shelves... at least the ones I checked. None at BestBuy (sold out online and internal inventory doesn't even have the SKU), Target (the online supplier for Amazon) or some local electronics stores. Some regional stores seem to get small shipments (American TV, HHGregg) but are sold out quickly. I've actually been trying to hunt one down for the last week since the launch date on 4/26.

Others sites have reported that inventory levels should be better by end of June... but by then, there will be more tablets out by Samsung (the new slim 10.1" Galaxy Tab) and HP (the WebOS tablets).

It's good to see high demand for an Android tablet, with disappointing sales (relatively) of the XOOM (although to be fair, the Wifi-only version wasn't release until just last month), this shows that people are willing to buy something without an 'i' in it if the features and price are right.

If you can't find a Transformer either, you can always settle for the Acer Iconia for $50 more (but it doesn't have that cool keyboard dock) or just wait for summer to hit with an onslaught of more tablets to come. Even Engadget is reporting that Asus is working on an even more powerful Tegra-3 quad-core tablet to be released this year:

Have you been able to find a Transformer? Hopefully I'll have one before the Transformer 3 movie comes out... heh.