Imitation is said to be the best form of flattery. Asus must really like the iPad 2 then, because Amazon German shows that the EEE Pad Transformer Prime tablet will get a Smart Cover as well. They’re not even calling it something else from the looks of it, so they’re not exactly trying to hide where they got the idea from. Unlike the original Smart Cover though, this one turns into a stand using something closer to origami rather than just forming a triangular piece for the tablet to rest on. This might be for legal reason, because it works better, or because the 16:9 screen format of the Prime means it’s not tall enough to form a stable stand with a triangle shape.
I’m a bit unsure what I think about this one. The first thing that strikes me is that this will be useless if you’re using the keyboard dock. I’m also a bit on the edge with whether or not this is an acceptable form of duplication. I do want as many tablets as possible to have a cover like that because it’s a good idea, but this is also one of few cases where I really couldn’t blame Apple if they sued Asus for it. Then again I would be more likely to be angry at Asus if it was an Android tablet company that had made the original Smart Cover, as that kind of innovation is key to competing within Android while iOS vs Android is a whole other debate, i.e you’re not going to suddenly buy an Android tablet instead of the iPad because of that cover (then you haven’t done your homework on other differences)
The Smart Cover, or smart cover (not sure if we should make it a generic term now that there are two of them) is listed at €39 in Germany, which should loosely translate to whatever the polyurethane iPad Smart Cover costs where you live.[Amazon Germany via Gizmodo]