Asus announces sub-$500 Windows 8 tablet

VivoTab Smart has 10.1-inch screen and comes with Windows 8 and an Intel Clover Trail processor

Asustek Computer on Tuesday introduced the VivoTab Smart, a tablet computer with a 10.1-inch screen that will be available with Windows 8 starting at $499.

The tablet resembles Asustek's existing Transformer Pads, which have a similar screen size and run Google's Android OS. The VivoTab Smart was announced at an Asus press event in New York City on Tuesday.

Asus has also announced other tablets, including the 11.6-inch VivoTab with Windows 8, which starts at $799, and the VivoTab RT, which starts at $599 and runs the Windows RT version of Windows 8 for ARM-based processors.

The Windows 8 tablets announced so far with Intel processors have been priced above $500. Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet 2 will cost $649, while Hewlett-Packard's ElitePad 900 tablet has a tentative price tag of $699. The VivoTab Smart matches the price of Microsoft's own Surface tablet, which has an ARM processor and runs Windows RT.

The VivoTab Smart comes with Intel's Atom Z2760 processor, code-named Clover Trail, which was designed specifically for tablets. An Asus representative said the tablet offers eight to nine hours of battery life. It has an 8-megapixel camera, but other hardware details were not immediately available.

Asus will also sell an optional screen protector and wireless keyboard called the TranSleeve. It connects to the tablet magnetically, much like the Touch Cover for Microsoft's Surface.

Asus is also selling an optional keyboard dock that attaches to the tablet, turning it into a laptop.

The company didn't give a specific availability date for the VivoTab Smart, but it has said its VivoTab tablets will ship in the coming weeks.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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