Is it a laptop? Is it a tablet?

We live, ladies and gentlemen, in a time of flux in the PC market. The old set-up - desktop, laptop, that's it - has been blown apart by our desire to bring the internet into our lives at every opportunity. Now there are smartphones, tablets, internet TVs, and all sorts. Nobody knows for certain where things will end up, so some manufacturers are throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

That might be a (slightly harsh) explanation for the new tablet range just shown off at the CES conference by ASUS, the company which transformed the PC market a few years ago with its Eee PC, the first netbook. One of the new items, the Eee Pad Slate, is pretty conventional in form - it's, er, a tablet. But it's big - it packs a 12-inch screen - and runs Windows 7. It looks from their presentation like it's designed to live on a desk with a keyboard lots of the time, and then be picked up for occasional roaming.

Then there's the Eee Pad Slider. This aims to answer the old dilemma - you want a tablet for convenience, but you need a keyboard sometimes. The Slider, as its name implies, is a tablet with a keyboard that slides out, smart-phone style, to make a small laptop. That might sound very chunky, but the keyboard looks super-thin. We also think sliding out a keyboard will seem more socially acceptable to many people than swivelling their screen around as old-fashioned convertible tablets require.

Our favourite, though, is the Eee Pad Transformer. This takes a different approach to the keyboard dilemma, one that's elegant in its simplicity - you use it as a laptop then, when you want a tablet, you just take off the screen and off you go - it's a tablet.

The issue with these transforming tablets, though, is software. They're set to run Android, which will work very nicely with tablet mode, but isn't really designed for the kind of 'serious' computing a laptop is expected to do. Until there's a really tablet-friendly version of Windows, it's hard to know how that's going to work out. But we'll let you know what the big reviewers think once they get their hands on these beauties.

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