In an ever changing environment, hybrid devices have been appearing in all sorts of shapes and sizes. When companies tried to combine the tablet and phone, we’ve seen phones that try to mimic a tablet and tablets that come with phone functionality. There’s no standard formula of converging the 2 together but ASUS has taken a radical approach in offering phone, tablet and “notebook” form factor in a single integrated solution.
The result is the ASUS PadFone which is their next evolution following its success of the ASUS Transformer tablet series. The Eee Pad transformer tablets is probably today’s best example of a seamless tablet + keyboard form factor which started the wave of hybrid tablet designs in the market.
Now let’s get right into this unique 3-in-1 hybrid phone tablet hardware.
Finally the multi-convergence ASUS PadFone is finally launched in Malaysia. Revealed officially months ago at MWC, it features a 4.3″ Android ICS Smart phone that’s dockable into a 10.1″ tablet form factor. In addition, the tablet is also expandable into a “notebook” form factor with a matching keyboard dock. This offers 3 different usability in a single solution.
In terms of specs, the PadFone runs on dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm 8260A Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB of RAM with 32GB 16GB of storage. Over at the back, it comes with a 8MP f/2.2 camera with assisted flash and has a front facing VGA camera. Juicing up the “Fone” is a 1,520mAh battery and it runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
When plugged into the PadFone station, it expands the display to a IPS 10.1″ at 1280×800 resolution and it comes with a front facing 1.3MP camera. The key benefit of this is having to share just one 3G data plan for both Fone and Tablet usage. In addition, the larger battery in the PadFone Station works as a battery pack that charges the PadFone while being docked. The keyboard dock also comes with battery that also acts as extra juice for the entire combo.
At time of launch, both the “Fone” and PadFone station is priced at RM2,399. The dockable keyboard is sold separately with pricing yet to be confirmed. So what happens if a call comes in while the “Fone” is being docked? There’s a stylus headset which is a pen stylus that doubles up as a phone receiver. This probably looks less silly when answering calls than to hold the entire tablet onto your face. The stylus headset is sold separately at RM179. In terms of warranty, ASUS is giving 2 years warranty for the PadFone and 1 year warranty for the PadFone station.