After an endless stream of possible launch dates passed our desk, we have finally been given the expected North American retail availability of the ASUS Transformer Prime. A representative from ASUS has just informed us that we should expect retail and etail availability of the Transformer Prime to start the “week of December 19 or later.”
These dates are flexible based on pre-order fulfillment requirements, unit quantities received, and in-stock dates. We have already seen pre-orders at Amazon sell out in one day, so I would expect quantities to be limited at your local stores. Launch partners include Newegg.com, Best Buy, Staples, Frys, Amazon and GameStop.
ASUS will provide further information on the estimated receipt dates before the launch. We were also told there was no release date for a 3G model in the US, so expect the WiFi only option for some time.
Retail pricing remains the same. The 32 GB model will sell for $499, and the 64 GB model will cost $599. The new docking station with integrated battery will retail for $149. Both the Transformer Prime and dock station will be offered in two colors, Amethyst Gray and Champagne Gold.
As expected the unit launches with Honeycomb Android 3.2.1 with some custom ASUS optimizations. Android 4.0.1 will be available via an over-the-air update as soon as it is optimized and tested. There is no exact date for the software update, but NVIDIA already showed off the Prime running Android 4.0.1 only two days after the source code was released.
We were informed a firmware over-the-air (FOTA) image update version 126.96.36.199 will be available on December 2 that “updates the EC firmware to improve battery life with the dock in power saving mode, along with a few minor performance tweaks.”
I’m sure many of you who pre-ordered the Transformer Prime wish it was shipping tomorrow, but the additional wait time could mean we see more Tegra Zone games available at launch. NVIDIA expects to have 40+ games in Tegra Zone by the end of 2011 with 12+ of those optimized for Tegra 3.