Asus unveils smartphone-tablet combo, the Padfone

By on May 30, 2011, 2:00 PM

Asus has unveiled a range of new products at the Computex 2011 trade show in Taipei, including notebooks, netbooks and a curious tablet device that houses with a 4.3-inch phone on the back. Dubbed Padfone, the latter is somewhat similar in concept to the Motorola Atrix, except you dock your phone with a tablet instead of laptop.

Details are scarce at the moment but we know the tablet shell is fully powered by the smartphone, and as such it will allow users to access all the phone's features on the larger 10.1-inch screen of the tablet as soon as it is inserted. Asus says the tablet will display content in its native resolution as opposed to simply upscaling the smartphone's display. It will also feature an extended battery and an I/O extender that will allow other devices to communicate with the phone.

The modular system means Asus could introduce other docking solutions to its ecosystem down the road, all powered by the smartphone while keeping a single data plan for connectivity -- that is of course unless carriers have a say in it, which is possible seeing how AT&T requires a paid tethering plan for using the Atrix 4G with the laptop dock.

Besides sharing one SIM card for 3G access, storage will also be shared across both devices. It's unclear which flavor of Android will power the hybrid device. Although during the company's Computex presentation, Chairman Jonney Shih was showing off a Honeycomb tablet, it's possible the device will end up running the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich release, which will finally unify the Android user experience for smartphones and tablets.

There aren’t any pricing details yet either as Asus is aiming for a release towards the end of this year. In the meantime, you can watch Asus' promotional video for the Padfone above and another one discussing the device's design process.

User Comments: 12

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Cueto_99 said:

Woww! I'm thrilled! It's really an interesting concept and It can really be useful. I bet it will have the same success as the Transformer... What if Asus adds a docking keyboard to the padfone! If that happens, I'm sold!

yRaz yRaz said:

This isn't as bad of an idea as I once thought. This is very interesting and can you imagine if this went mainstream?

Guest said:

Most forward thinking idea I've seen yet.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Damn, this idea is really impressive, I must say. I see a LOT of people getting this just because of having it all in one. Asus never disappoints.

matrix86 matrix86 said: jaw has dropped. I never would have thought of that. Now...let's see the rest of the specs. This looks smooth and badass, but it better have the hardware to back it. My biggest issue will be weight.

Guest said:

Never thought I would ever see a matruska tablet... These guys are either geniuses or nuts!

MrAnderson said:

This is exciting. Now other companies get off your butts and innovate too.

Hmmm wonder which phone company is this going to be on? And will they force extra charges down the customer throat... like extra tether cost to use the pad part of the device (pay for phone data, and additional tether fee - would be yuck!)... that is what sucks if the phone compaiens try to milk customers.

Also, I hope it does not cost more than 650 - 700...

Guest said:

Idea came here??

aj_the_kidd said:

yorro said:

Ugly name

iPadfone, problem solved

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

aj_the_kidd said:

yorro said:

Ugly name

iPadfone, problem solved

To that note, is it just me or is the font WAY too similar to that of the iPad as well... lol. Just thought it'd be strange >.>

Anyway, yeah, its a really cool product ASUS was once in the Smartphone market before with BenQ if I'm not mistakened, but they died due to horrible interface and ui... with the boost of Android, I think this is the best time for them, as they only need to worry about pushing out good hardware

I can't wait to see the pricing on this, though I just got my SGS :X

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Really neat gizmo there although I'm not quite sold on the name. Let's see how Apple reacts to this new development.

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