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Asus Transformer AiO tablet/desktop hybrid merges Windows 8 and Android

Is it a tablet? Or is it a desktop? Actually, it's both. The Asus Transformer All-in-One (AiO) is a dual-function PC that switches from tablet to desktop and back again.

It's not the first desktop/tablet mashup we've seen— Sony was first out of the gate with the Vaio Tap 20, and Lenovo has also announced the IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC — though it does have an extra trick under the table, switching between Windows 8 and Android just as easily as it does from desktop to tablet.

The Asus Transformer functions as a Windows 8 all-in-one desktop, and doubles as an 18in Android tablet, switching back and forth when it's docked and undocked from the PC base station. When set in the docking station, the Asus Transformer offers a full-blown desktop experience, equipped with a third-generation Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB to 3TB hard drive. It can be used with a keyboard and mouse.

The docking station offers adjustable height and angle, as well as four USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, a slot-loading DVD optical drive, and jacks for headphone and microphone. The base station also features built-in SonicMaster audio. The 18.4in display, in addition to 10-finger touch and 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, features wide viewing angles thanks to an IPS panel.

Undock the 18.4in touch-screen display, and the processing duties shift to the tablet's Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system.

The tablet has 32GB of its own internal storage, and can continue to display Windows 8, as a wireless touch monitor. The 18in tablet may be a little unwieldy on its own — reportedly weighing 2.5Kg— but it also has a built-in kickstand, letting you prop up the display wherever you please. The tablet itself is equipped with volume controls, a micro-USB port, micro-HDMI socket, and a microSD card slot. In either mode, users can toggle between Windows 8 and Android 4.1 by pressing a button on the front of the tablet.

Availability and pricing for the Asus Transformer AiO have not yet been announced.