Intel’s 3-in-1 Concept Seems Weird

Intel and ASUS have put out a new "3-in-1" device that, frankly, looks like it is unlikely to gain traction.

Feb 4, 2014 at 1:00PM

ASUS, one of Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) best partners in the PC space, recently launched what it calls a "3-in-1" product under the brand Transformer Book Trio. The concept here is that with one device you get the following goodies:

At first glance, this seems like a pretty compelling package. Who doesn't want just one device to rule them all? Well, the problem here is that these devices are always likely to be pretty significant compromises -- jack of all trades, master of none.

The Android part isn't great
What's really interesting about this device is that it doesn't use the same hardware to run both Android and Windows. Indeed, behind the glass sits a fairly antiquated Atom Z2560 based on Intel's older Clover Trail+ silicon, and 2GB of RAM. If Intel had included its next-generation Bay Trail chip, which is dramatically better than the Clover Trail+ solution, then this would probably be a much more compelling proposition. However, as it stands, this is a tablet that is likely to offer an inferior user experience to even the bargain-basement Nexus 7 tablets.

On top of the obvious hardware fail, Intel and ASUS are including only Android version 4.2, which is a far cry from the latest and greatest Android 4.4, known as KitKat -- Google did quite a lot to improve performance/smoothness in this latest release. KitKat offers some pretty compelling performance and user-experience enhancements that would probably go a long way on the antiquated Clover Trail+ hardware. All in all, the Android portion of this device is just not all that compelling.

The Windows part is OK
The laptop portion of the Transformer Book Trio is actually pretty decent, as it comes packed with Intel's low-power 15-watt Haswell chips targeted at Ultrabooks. According to, the performance is good, but the battery life isn't fantastic, and the ports aren't really all that great for "workaholics." In other words, it seems like a pretty run-of-the-mill Ultrabook in "notebook" mode, with all of the compromises that come with the "detachable" category.

On another note, Microsoft is probably not too enthused with the idea that users are going to completely ignore the touch-oriented UI -- and the attendant Microsoft app store. It's important to not underestimate Microsoft's influence over the various OEMs. 

Is the price right?
Another problem here is the price. This notebook can be had for $1,549 on, configured with a 500GB mechanical drive -- much slower than the solid-state drives found in most Ultrabooks -- 4GB of DRAM, and an i7 4500U. While the convenience of a three-in-one can be argued, it's tough to ignore that for roughly the same price, one could buy a MacBook Pro 13-inch and an iPad mini with Retina Display. Or, for those who absolutely need Windows, a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro can be had for $999, and the top-shelf, Android-based Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1-inch for $519 -- roughly equal to the price of this hybrid.

Foolish bottom line
When it comes to these types of convertibles, there's always some kind of compromise to be had. It's clear that Intel wants to push these devices so that it can sell more processors per device and guarantee the sale of a higher-end Core chip. But unless it can fix a lot of the compromises that the current ASUS device offers, this class of device will simply join many of the other experimental form factors, such as the ASUS Taichi, in the bad PC form-factor graveyard.

Looking for a tech company that's making all the right moves?
Opportunities to get wealthy from a single investment don't come around often, but they do exist, and our chief technology officer believes he's found one. In this free report, Jeremy Phillips shares the single company that he believes could transform not only your portfolio, but your entire life. To learn the identity of this stock for free and see why Jeremy is putting more than $100,000 of his own money into it, all you have to do is click here now.

Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Google and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Intel, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information