As promised, Asus today showed off the new Padfone phone/tablet/laptop hybrid device. It’s been a year since it was first mentioned, so it’s about time that we’re seeing some progress on this one. The base unit here is a 4.3-inch smartphone, sporting a qHD (540 x 960) Super AMOLED display, dual core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 CPU, Adreno 225 GPU, 1GB of RAM, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 8 megapixel back and VGA resolution front cameras, Bluetooth 4.0, all the other “normal” sensors, and a microSD slot.
This piece can then be docked into the Padfone Station, a tablet that houses the phone and uses it as the brains of the operation. The Padfone Station has a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 screen, 1.3 megapixel front camera (it uses the phone’s back camera), audio connector, and a 24.4Wh battery to power the tablet. MicroUSB and microHDMI have also been mentioned in specs, though I wonder if that’s not the phone’s way of interfacing with the tablet. Unfortunately the actual press release is more worried about using marketing terms than listing actually useful specs.
The transformation doesn’t stop there though, as the Padfone Station can be docked into a Transformer-like keyboard dock. Again I’ve been left wanting more specs here, as I can’t seem to find any information regarding what this dock contains – if anything at all. Yet another battery? Some ports? Guess well find out. If you’re wondering how you’ll be able to receive calls while your phone is a tablet being a laptop, Asus has solved that problem with a stylus. You read right, Asus’ new capacitive stylus doubles as a Bluetooth receiver to be used as a sort of wireless phone on its own.
Personally, I don’t really know what to think of this thing at this point – especially not without knowing the prices for the individual pieces. Having all the major hardware in one device has to be reflected heavily in the price, or you might as well carry around multiple devices. The feature here that I’d be most interested in is the ability to play content from my phone on the tablet, which would eliminate the issue of having to either transfer video to both, or guess which one I end up using. That’s still a minor issue though, and unless the price is very right, this just seems like a solution to a problem people aren’t having. I’m thinking a competitive price in each market for the phone itself, another $150 for the Padfone Station, and another $80 for the keyboard dock if it doesn’t have a battery on its own. That leaves you far enough away from the original Transformer’s price to not make it worthwhile to get that instead. If we end up close to $300+ for the two major accessories – which is frankly just as likely – then this is going to be more of a “because I can” product to own.[Engadget]