Seven iPad alternatives for schools

ASUS tablets bridge traditional and mobile computing

ASUS has a strong track record of meeting schools’ needs for lightweight, portable devices, and it now seeks to serve schools converting from laptops and netbooks to tablet computers, said Jerry Walker, senior sales manager for commercial and public sector resellers.

ASUS’ latest tablet, the Android 4.0-powered Transformer Pad TF300T, offers design features of its predecessors in the Transformer tablet line—this time at a bargain price of $379 for a 16GB tablet with front and rear cameras.

The new TF300T boasts several key school-friendly traits—from a scratch-resistant pattern on the back of the tablet, to free Polaris Office software.

Consumers looking to combine the advantages of both traditional computers and tablets frequently turn to the optional keyboard docking station accessory designed for the Transformer line, said Phoebe Lin, a senior marketing specialist at ASUS.

Lin said the keyboard docking station, which sells separately for $149, gives students both typing and touchpad capabilities and allows them to close the tablet like a clamshell notebook.

By itself, the 22-watt tablet battery can last for up to 10 hours of use. Plugging in the tablet to the docking station can increase the tablet’s battery life to up to 15 hours.

Walker described the docking stations as “bridg[ing] the gap between notebooks and tablets,” because consumers can “use the tablet in a laptop configuration, and then detach the screen and use it on its own.”

He suggested charging the tablets via docking stations as a simpler alternative to plugging individual chargers into all the tablets in the classroom. “If every child has a tablet, [you can] rotate kids through the docking stations so each child doesn’t need a dock,” he explained.

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