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Intel’s 3-in-1 Concept Seems Weird

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/04/intels-3-in-1-concept-is-unlikely-to-gain-traction.aspx

Ashraf Eassa
February 4, 2014

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:

  • A Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) tablet
  • A Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows laptop
  • A Windows desktop

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 Notebookcheck.net, 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" m