ASUS Transformer tablet launching in NA next week?

It was just last Tuesday that I talked about the ASUS Transformer Android tablet selling out in the UK, and speculated that the shortage would likely mean a delay in the NA launch.

Wow, did I get that wrong, because this morning both Android Central and Engadget are reporting that the Transformer ships in the US and Canada next Tuesday, April 26th. The rumored pricing turns out to be accurate as well: $399 for the 16GB model, $499 for the 32GB, and $150 for the dock/keyboard assembly that turns the Transformer into an Android netbook.

[Update: This information is all available directly from ASUS on their Facebook page, so this date is official now.]

Android Central goes so far as to list a bunch (20 in the US, 5 in Canada) of retailers who it claims will have the Transformer next week. I spot checked a few and haven't found any pre-order pages yet. They also did a review of their own (and seemed to like it more than Engadget did in its review of the UK version).

I've been shooting my mouth off long enough about a more affordable Android tablet experience and this seems to be it — I guess it's time to put my money where my mouth is and order one of these puppies (as soon as one of these retailers is ready to take my money). The 16GB version sounds sufficient given that it has a working MicroSD slot (plus a full-size SD slot on the dock). Expect a hands-on post once I log some hours with my new toy.

Anyone else ready to join me? I'm going into this with the full realization that Honeycomb might still be a bit laggy, and taking into consideration the issues Engadget had with the cameras (though I'm hoping that'll be fixed in the NA version). I still think these things are for gadget nerds only and that a more typical consumer would be better off with an iPad 2, at least for now. But the world needs early adopters willing to exist on the bleeding edge now and then, right? At least, that's how I'm justifying this purchase to myself!

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