Asus promised an official launch of its Eee Pad Transformer Prime on November 9th, and not a moment too late, the company is ready to give up the remaining details on its forthcoming tablet. However, those hoping that "launch" meant the world's first quad-core Tegra 3 tablet would start hitting stores today should be prepared to be disappointed — the $499 tablet (with 32GB of storage) and its $149 keyboard dock won't be arriving until early December. (The 64GB version will ring up at $599.) That said, after you read on below about all the improvements, you'll likely think it's worth the wait.
Obviously, the biggest change comes on the inside. The tablet is the first to have Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 processor (formerly known as Kal El), and while we have tons of details on that right here, the most important thing you need to know is that it promises five times the performance of Tegra 2. But that extra power doesn't mean extra weight or a hit on battery life, in fact it means the opposite. The tablet has been significantly slimmed down to .33 inches (8.3mm) and it's said to last 12 hours on a charge. Not to mention, with the keyboard dock's 22Wh battery attached, Asus is claiming 18 hours.
Beyond that, it has jazzed up a lot of the exterior hardware. In addition to a new Zenbook-like design, which is coated in hydro-oleophobic coating to prevent fingerprint smudges, Asus has added an 8-megapixel camera with a flash and a back-illuminated CMOS sensor. To boot, Asus claims its new 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800-resolution Super IPS+ display has been improved for outdoor viewing and that new SonicMaster Technology significantly improves speaker quality.
There's no doubt it sounds like the best Android tablet to date, and while it won't launch with Ice Cream Sandwich, Asus is promising an over-the-air update very soon after the early December release. We're hoping to check out the jam-packed tablet before then, but in the meantime we'll leave you with the press shots below and this handy chart comparing the Prime and the original Transformer.