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Asus reveals the Transformer Book Trio, a hybrid device that runs Windows 8 AND Android

Considering the Windows 8 ecosystem’s relative newness, Microsoft’s PC and tablet OS certainly has room to grow in the app department. Wouldn’t it be great if one machine could run both Windows 8 and another established tablet OS such as Android? The newly announced Asus Transformer Book Trio does just that, packing both operating systems into a dockable tablet model. One major caveat though: the Windows portion only works when docked.

Two brains, one package

This division stems from the Transformer Book Trio’s dual CPU and battery setup. As far as we can tell, one CPU resides within the tablet and the other within the dock. The tablet portion of the device holds a 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 processor, 64 GB of storage, and a 19Wh cell battery. It runs Android Jelly Bean, which is totally not a robotic fruit snack.

Meanwhile, the Trio’s keyboard dock adds a fourth-generation Intel Core i7-4500U processor (AKA Haswell), a 1 TB hard drive, and an extra 33Wh cell battery. The  same CPU will also be found in Asus’s Vivo Book V551 (S551 in Europe) ultrabook PC that was announced at the end of May. Haswell chips apparently offer up to fifty percent more battery life than third-generation Ivy Bridge CPUs.

Pressing a special hotkey on the keyboard toggles between Android and Windows 8 – when the Trio is docked, of course. So Android can be used in laptop or tablet mode, while Windows needs the laptop dock. The dock also offers a trackpad.

Divided by necessity

This solution seems to neglect one of Windows 8’s greatest strengths: its touch-centric design. Windows 8 represents the first PC operating system that also works great on tablets. The Transformer Book Trio will of course allow touch-screen controls in Windows 8 mode, but requires the dock to be connected since that part holds the guts used to make Microsoft’s OS work.

Separating the hardware needed for the two operating systems into the tablet and dock is probably the only way to get around having the tablet portion weigh as much as modern day Lawrence Fishburne. And let’s face it; hardcore Windows 8 enthusiasts probably own a Surface or even Asus’s excellent VivoTab Smart. The Trio seems to be aimed at Android enthusiasts first. But it will also introduce those users to the Windows 8 experience, so Microsoft's PC and tablet ecosystem will still benefit from the Android infusion.

Big power in a small package

Asus Transformer Book Trio

Image courtesy of Technodify

The Transformer Book Trio carries an impressive 11.6 inch 1080P IPS display. That’s an increase over the Surface’s 10.6 inch screen, and it should make for a slightly better laptop-style experience. But as a whole, the Trio will also be larger and heavier to carry around. At least it won’t die too quickly: Asus touts up to 15 hours of battery life. Though we’re not sure what the difference in life will be between Jelly Bean and Windows 8 modes.

More details to come

The Transformer Book Trio announcement came during Asus’s keynote presentation at Computex 2013 in Taipei. During the same event, Asus announced three other Android-specific devices, and Samsung of course announced the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. So we know Android made a strong showing at Computex, but Asus could still announce more Windows 8 devices (such as a second generation tablet) later this year.

As for the Transformer Book Trio’s release date and price, hopefully those will come soon. Pricing questions aside, what do you guys think about running Windows 8 and Android on the same machine?

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

113 Comments
  • Woow! I wamt it! :D
  • I wamt it too
  • Not funny, my keyboard is really small.
  • The power of the edit button!
  • You don't say ! 
  • Being a owner of a surface tablet, I can't see the use of a Android system together with my Surface....why I would want that?
  • I agree 100% with you!!!!
  • Mint, Manilla, Pinterest, Google Plus, to name a few apps that are pretty "must have" for me. If I only had to carry one device to tether to my Lumia, this could be it.
  • why not just use the htlm 5 or flash versions of these apps? I would never use android on a Windows 8 tablet, its like using a turd when you have the premium equivalente right next to it. I see this device usefull to convert android owners to Windows 8 and nothing else
  • You honestly can't understand why Android has fans or what its uses are?
  • I understand, but I recognize a better product and company.
  • I don't think Android has many fans.  It has users who don't like iOS and Apple, but I'd guess most use Android out of necessity.  I rarely hear anyone gushing about it.  In fact, most things I hear about it are complaints.  Despite the Windows ecosystem having some variation on quality due to the EOMs, the Android ecosystem has a much bigger gap.  I've seen people buy tablets with minimal multi-touch support, no ability to upgrade, etc. 
     
    Thing about this tab, is with an Atom it could run Windows 8, not just RT.  The i7 in the dock is overkill.  Why would you want to give up so much when you undock?  I've used my brother's Android phone (Ice Cream Sandwich) and it's okay, but no where near as functional as my WP8 device for ease of use.  It's even more difficult when compared to Windows 8.  And the Win8 devices work even better if you put a Wacom certified digitizer in them.  I LOVE using the W8 tabs with the pen.  They become very effective devices. 
     
    After using W8 tablets, I have no desire to use the simplistic iOS and Android models.  That will be further magnified when 8.1 comes.  And even further magnified when the Metro Office apps hit.
  • lol... delusional fanboyism at its finest.
     
    "I don't like Android, therefore their massive market share must be because all those people are grudgingly forced to use it!"
     
    Nevermind the tons of really popular apps that Android has that aren't even possible on Windows Phone, and probably never will be, like Torque for example.
  • who said anything about Windows phone? It´s full Windows 8 you noob, why would you need apps when you have millions of programs and full flash and HTML 5 web equivalents?
  • Just because you're the one guy in the world who is happy to use HTML 5 instead of apps on a tablet doesn't mean the rest of us work that way. It's silly to even expect that.
  • A well built HTML 5 is any bit as good as an app...
  • "why not just use the html5 site?" Seriously? If Mint came out and used that excuse for them to not build a native WP app, we would all jump down their throats. Being that Android's app store is 99% on par with iOS, I see this device as having the best of both worlds. You get apps that you with Win8 and WP had on the Android side, but you also get the smoothness and functionality of Win8 for other task. It's a win-win for someone like me.
  • and if you wanted to add 3g/4g connectivity you stick a USB Modem. This is the perfect machine.
  • Apps would be importante if this was a Windows rt device, but its a full Windows 8 pro laptop, so apps are next to irrelevant
  • Why does it matter? With Surface, I just use web sites.
  • Ok, so why should any company make a Win8 or WP native app if you're just using the website?
  • This^2
  • Make a great HTML5 website that works all platforms, save hugely on development costs.
  • on small screens apps make sense, on tablets and laptops ... not so much, as long as a proper web based replacement is made obviously.
  • Did everyone all of a sudden forget about bluestacks....which makes windows even better
  • Have you used bluestack? Unstable, limited apps, acts like a virus... Not a great app
  • So basically runs like android... :/
  • Meh, i bet we wont get it, justlike the asus tx300...
  • No thanks, it's infected by android
  • Lol.... Good one!
  • Haha,
    Microsoft fans, totally J*rk.
    Don't you see the point. Its not about Android.
    It is about Multi-platform.
    You don't like Android but in future may be like Meego,Web OS, Tizen etc.
    Don't you think it will be better to have multi-platform device to experience it,
  • WP fansboys. Hate Android but wants everything it has
  • lol,
    Good One.
  • Only thing WP is missing is the official YouTube app.
  • "WP fansboys. Hate Android but wants everything it has" Well, not entirely true I mean, I can live without the the malware, freeze-ups, reboots & lag. Everything else is pretty cool though.
  • And what makes you think window never had freeze UPS reboots and lag? Typical fanboy response in here. Sad
  • Sorry, no fanboy response at all. It's just my personal experiences with keyword being "personal" I don't or would never assume to speak for anyone elses personal experiences but my own. ....And that's the difference between my response and that of a "typical fanboy"
     
     
  • Ok you still never answered my question.
  • Its a fact that windows 8 very rarely freezes or reboots(and when it does is because of a hardware issue not software) and never lags. The only fanboy here is you, so stick with your crappy android and leave laptops and tablets with proper OS's alone
  • The only thing which WP is offereing is it is most safest platform.
    I know Android is not safe because it is target of most of hacker(95%). because of its market share.
     
    No OS is safe when it get attention of hackers.
    WP market share is very low and thats the reason hacker aren't interested in WP. 
    So, what if WP get decent market share.......will it be as safe as now?  I doubt.
    I think every OS has its limitation and nothing is perfect, So it will be better if you start enjoying every platform.
  • right... because ios has no marketshare at all, android is unsafe because of its open nature and almost complete lack of basic security measures especially the fact that any idiot can write an app for it without it being approved.
  • Good one!
  • Bluestacks makes having the multiplatform with android tizen meego etc irrelevant. Honestly if you want multiplatform dual boot Linux or if all hardware supports it you can hackintosh
  • Awesome idea. I wish I could use Windows 8 in tablet mode too. However, I cannot see how that would be possible.
  • Great, finally a multi-platform device.
     
    I hope soon it will be available on smartphone too.
  • I can pass on this. Good work though Asus.
  • I always wondered what the point of having 2 OS'? I think it was also ASUS that had this same concept for this 21in All-In-One device. More like a pain having to go thru different UI's. I'd pass also.
  • Meh...too much compromise. While would d android be pushed over Windows 8 in tablet mode. I'm sure the designer always had android at heart first.
    I for one can't compromise my Windows 8 experience in tablet mode for android. The difference is CLEAR!!!
  • Android is not being pushed....per se. The tablet itself needs to be thinner and light for portability, and that usually means an arm processor. The dock that is needed to run windows 8 supposedly has a x86 processor for horsepower. If android could run on a x86 processor without emulation, then the tablet would be a windows 8 tablet with the ability to dual boot android. Besides, android is larger in the mobile market than windows, so it makes good sense to target a larger pool of possible users.
  • The Windows 8 functionality via the dock is probably also more practical (though I too wish Windows 8 worked in tablet mode) than if it was reversed. The Windows operating system is a more popular productivity tool for most PC users when you consider Office. Asus may have been considering as one of the factors for choosing Windows as the dock only option is that when users were ready to get down to business(students writing papers, employees working on projects, etc.) that the Microsoft Office suite would be for most PC users the most familiar and desired tool for such tasks. So Asus probably figured if one of the OS's would be limited to the dock - Windows would be the best choice.
  • Nokia music updated????
  • Awful idea, overblown device for Android and no advantage for Windows 8 users.
  • Really can't see why I would want an android tablet when I undock my Windows convertible. And this is precisely why I am looking forward to the next Surface Pro, a Windows device pure and simple and none of this spydroid crap.
  • Great to have option of Windows RT and Windows 8 in the same package. Should RT actually get any apps.
  • Have you even checked the Store's app count lately?
  • Can't see any problem. I love my 8x but keep an android phone on a broadband contract. Its in my bag for when windows phone is can't help. Keeps Google outa my smooth running windows space too.
    We still keep couple of desktops partitioned with windows 7 and 8.
    I think it's a good move to let us use what's best from both worlds. In my job I need to use the Google sketchup pro visualisation software to show clients my ideas. One laptop would be brilliant for that.
  • I'm not buying a tablet with Android, as easy as that.
  • Isn't the whole point of Windows 8 having a unified experience accross all devices? People complain about being thrown into dektop mode, who would want to be thown into android? Useless.
  • At least someone gets it spot on...+1000
  • Agreed. Flop.
  • No thank you my money goes to  windows tablets/laptops/desktop only
  • I can see the value of Android in a phone, there's apps there that just don't exist yet for WP. But for a tablet, why bother?
     
    So, a dual boot phone I could see a point in, this, why? Do you get better battery life in Android (I doubt given how laggy and poor Android seems to be coded).
  • What's the point of this? Makes no sense whatsoever! Windows 8 pro and Android? Again, make zero sense. Damn Asus!!!!
  • I won't but anything with Android Garbage in it
  • I don't think a lot of people will be into using two drastically different UIs depending on where they use their device. This sounds like the epitome of confusion.
  • Android is all the reason I need to look somewhere else. About six months ago I thought of patenting something like this, though I was thinking of as high power processor in the keyboard for Win8, and a low power one in the tablet for WinRT, but I was too late to the game.
  • It's only me probably, but I see this as a abomination and a threat, the final way Google can use to win the PC manufacturers from Microsoft and Windows. No matter how you look at this, if you are a Google fan thus day is a win for there team.
  • Maybe a firmware update will let it run WinPhone and the latest build of WebOS too! Does anyone know if there is a UnicornOS it could maybe run too??
  • I wish MS would just combine all the features of webOS with WP.  You would have the perfect mobile OS--great multitasking, notifications, swipe to close/delete, JustType/universal search, etc.
    Sigh...
  • I  cant comment on the Talk Mobile post. Is it closed? Or is something broken?
  • Why not have Windows on both modes? You get a fan less Windows Tablet with great battery and a powerful notebook once docked.
  • Aye. Exactly what I was thinking. And when most of your stuff is in the cloud, there is not much to sync between them...
  • Can't see this being popular
  • There's just something really disturbing about this tablet
    Reminds me of that really gross kiss between Michael Jackson and lisa Marie Presley.
  • Has anyone heard of bluestacks software? Wouldn't that do the trick for WIndows first users.
  • Solution to a problem that never existed.
  • Ew, skip the Android
  • Why in the world would they make a convertible that can't run Windows in tablet mode? Cool that it is effectively two complete computers, but completely misses the point for Windows.
  • I agree, it does not make any sense since they are running an Atom processor in the tablet which is capable of handling Windows 8 quite easily.
  • The atom is in the dock, the tablet would need an arm processor for android.
  • Pretty much this.
  • This is a weird combo working with the enemy no thanks xp
  • Question for you Paul, do you think the version of Windows 8 is 64bit since it can only be ran when it is docked and I believe that i7 is 64bit and I know for sure the Atom is 32 bit. Could this be a reason why they can't run Windows 8 in tablet mode you think??
  • As far as we know, it's just a design decision to have the low-power tablet portion running Android. Almost like they didn't see why people would want Windows 8 on the tablet too.
  • Yeah they just alienated those that would like a tablet that can actually run both OSes without the hassle of having to dock it for a particular version to work. Besides that, it is a promising idea and the specs look nice. I can actually see this appealing to some customers who want an android tablet but at the same time need a PC replacement, because android still lacks the ability to completely replace a PC.
  • That has so be the dumbest idea ever...
  • Android users hate Win8 and are stuck on Win7. This has no appeal to Windows 8 fans or Android fans.
  • I wonder if, Asus had to get permission from both Microsoft and Google to do this? If not, what could possibly be going through Asus mine.
  • The slide behind him says "Jelly Beam" lol.. #fail
  • Too much Jim Beam would explain this device!
  • I'm sure some will find some benefits to this.
  • How much free space I get after deleting android partition :) ?
  • Wtf?! how does this encourage people to develop for win8? Another blow to win8 right here 
  • Android have new version called "Jelly Beam"??
  • I don't see the point of this, personally. My Surface RT serves my tablet needs admirably. I don't need no stinking android.
  • Why would anyone want this? You might as well carry two tablets and be done with it
  • I've actually thought about carrying 2 tablets. I refuse to give up the android apps & games I use that Win8 does not have, but this 2 in 1 would be perfect.
  • Windows 8 and Android? WTF?!
  • Nope.
  • It always cracks me up to see you fanboys get up in arms about android. Personally, I would LOVE this if the Win8 portion would also work in tablet mode. There are waaaay too many apps that I use on my android tablet (especially games) that Win8 doesn't have yet and Bluestacks is NOT the answer; yet for web surfing and other basic task I'd prefer a Win8 tablet. I wish this kind of dual boot would come to phones too so I could use those android apps on the go too then switch to WP for everything else. Maybe a majority of you have just never used an android tab (with a decent rom) and just regurgitate the same ole bs (bloat, slow, etc). I thought we WP users were supposed to be the smart ones, but I guess fanboys come in every flavor.
  • Have an idea, dump the fruity tooty Android on the Atom chip put Windows 8 there. Then put Windows 7 on the Haswell chip. The best of both worlds'!
  • I don't want anything Android together with our beautiful WP and W8 besides YouTube .
  • Won't this leave windows 8 vulnerable to hacker attacks? because android.
  • Smart. They compensate Windows8 complete lack of Apps with Androids and Android complete lack of productivity tools with Windows. Now...that logo is kind of hard to imagine. Specially when both companies spend their lives at each others throats. Asus is playing the role of the teacher forcing the ill-behaved students to shake hands. lol
  • I prefer Android on smaller devices like the Nexus 7 but this is certainly a pretty cool option for people who want both Android and Windows 8 in one device.
     
    I'd hope they release a varient that still runs Windows 8 in tablet mode using the Atom processor, or allow it to work as a wireless monitor for the base when detatched. Oh, and stick a Wacom digitiser in there, for crying out loud. Why are they left out all the bloody time?!
  • This is an interesting device. It'd be cool to see some data about this device's users after it's been out a while. Which OS do they prefer? Which do they spend more time in??
  • Great questions, man. Much better than the delugfe of fanboy comments the article initially got.
  • Jelly Beam
  • Jelly BeaM?
  • As I have said in a couple of replies already, android does not run on x86 processors. If it is correct that the tablet has a Atom CPU, then there must be some type of emulation, like bluestacks. That is almost always a bad experience in my opinion. I mean, correct me if I am wrong, but Qualcomm supplies a large majority of arm processors for android devices and I don't see all of the android developers rewriting code for the x86 architecture.
  • Android has been running on Intel chips for at least a year. ASUS is powering their 7-inch Fonepad on an Intel chip, the Fonepad Note is Intel, and I think Samsung has even stuck one in the new 10-inch Galaxy Tab
  • I'm perfectly fine with my Windows 8/RT tablet/laptop...why would I need this? I can only see this benefits Android base users, that if they want to use a Windows device.
  • Two totally different platforms seems problematic. Can they open the same files? Can they even access each others files? If it was win8 and winrt then at least there would be some synergy.