No USB 3.0 or Bluetooth 3.0 on 1215N? No Problem!

This is something that’s come up in a couple of emails to me, as well as various forums I follow. Some people are talking about the Asus Eee PC 1215N not having Bluetooth 3.0 and USB 3.0 support in the US/North America.

In regards to Bluetooth 3.0 and USB 3.0, it says on the ASUSTek website: *Availability is dependent on selected model, country or operator support. Check with your local ASUS website for more details. .

On the Amazon.com page it doesn’t show either one, nor does it show either one listed elsewhere on other places in the US that are selling the 1215N. On the Amazon.co.uk page it mentions Bluetooth 3.0 + HS (High Speed), and while the Amazon UK link does not mention USB 3.0, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was available, since that listing is a bit sparse.

First of all, formal specifications for USB 3.0 were finalized less than two years ago, and USB 3.0 devices were really not announced until earlier this year. You can get USB 3.0 (and Bluetooth 3.0) devices to work in Windows 7, but right now many manufacturers and accessory makers are not exactly in a rush to get these devices out. With Windows 8 in 2012 offering built-in support for both standards, I think you’ll see a serious push, especially in devices that we haven’t even seen yet. I don’t think Bluetooth 3.0 or USB 3.0 devices will dominate before Windows 8.

Right now I think what we are seeing as far as USB 3.0 devices, are USB 2.0 devices that were adapted for USB 3.0, so it’s not as if there is something that you are missing out on as far as some new device that we haven’t seen yet, perhaps video related. I expect that to change as we get closer to Windows 8 and as USB 3.0 gains traction.

If it’s a pressing need for Bluetooth 3.0, there are already really tiny Bluetooth 3.0 adapters that would probably not be noticeable for the most part, and the 1215N has three USB 3.0 ports, so it’s not like you’ll be losing a lot if you stick a dongle in a USB port. As far as USB 3.0, the target audience is not necessarily going to be moving the amount of data requiring high speeds. It is true that the 1215N, with its dual-core CPU and NVIDIA ION 2 graphics and HDMI port makes for a great home media server, and in that instance I can see wanting to have speedy file transfers. USB 3.0 devices are starting to become easier to find – Amazon has a slew of them, mostly external USB 3.0 hard drives. There is backwards compatibility for the most part, so if the problem is not wanting to buy USB 2.0 devices from here on it, well it won’t be a problem. I don’t see companies rolling out external USB 3.0 hard drives that don’t support USB 2.0.

It says a lot where we have reached the point of expecting a $500 netbook to be on par with a higher-performance Ultra-Low Voltage (ULV) laptop. It says that the manufacturers are rolling out good netbooks that people are using in place of notebooks. At the same time, Asustek gets a lot of blame here. They are rolling out models of the 1215N in other parts of the world with USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0 support.

Whether it adds too much to the cost, and they don’t want to go over the $500 mark in the US, or whether it’s some kind of supply issues, I don’ t know. I may try and contact Asustek and see. It could very well, given Asustek’s place in the high-tech industry, that they have a good idea of how well USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0 devices are selling in the US/Canada and decided to save some money and skip it for now. You could argue that it would seem to be cheaper if they standardized and had all 1215Ns shipping with USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0 regardless of the region, and that it would help speed up adoption of those devices if the standards were more widely available in one of the more popular netbooks this fall.

Whatever the reason may be, I don’t think it should be a deciding factor, because I don’t see a lot of other netbooks offering it as well. It is annoying and frustrating, but it’s not as if every other netbook is offering this but the 1215N. Chances are, the 1225N or whatever is the follow-up next year will have Bluetooth 3.0 and USB 3.0 in the US. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are some other model refreshes later this year from Asustek that offer one or both standards as well in North America.

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