First introduced during CES in January, the Eee Pad Slider has made headlines repeatedly over the last eight months, but Asus has casually omitted the device's release details. Although we still don't have a precise launch date, the Taiwanese manufacturer has vowed to ship its new tablet by the end of September, just ahead of the holidays.

The 10.1-inch slate features a 1280x800 IPS Gorilla Glass touchscreen along with a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC – just like the Eee Pad Transformer, which hit shelves back in March. However, while the Transformer has an optional base attachment with a keyboard and an extra battery, the Slider hides a hardware keyboard below its display.

According to hands-on reports by Liliputing and other outfits, the Slider's keyboard is sufficient for productivity sessions, but it's not exactly ideal because its layout is more cramped than you'd find on a notebook or 10.1-inch netbook. There's only so much room to play with though, and we imagine most people would quickly adapt to the smaller layout.

Despite towing a hardware keyboard, the Slider only weighs a little more than the Xoom (1.6lbs versus 2.2lbs) and it measures half an inch thick. As long as you know what you're getting into, we imagine the extra half a pound wouldn't be too troublesome, especially because the built-in keyboard would be conducive to setting the device on a table.

The Eee Pad Slider will ship with Android 3.2 (the latest version of Honeycomb) and will be offered with 16GB of built-in storage for $479, while a 32GB version will be $579. For comparison's sake, the 16GB Eee Pad Transformer is $386 on Amazon and the 32GB version is fetching about $469. The optional keyboard dock is $123 with free shipping.