MWC 2012: ASUS PadFone, Let’s Volt In!
Yes, I’m that old, and yes, I am peeing my pants with excitement over ASUS’ PadFone. The 4.3-inch smartphone (PadFone) can slip into the 10.1-inch tablet (PadFone Station), which connects to a keyboard/charging station (PadFone Station Dock, sold separately) — all of this plus the stylus (Stylus Headset, sold separately) also doubles as a handset (so you won’t have to look like a jerk holding a tablet to your ear, yelping “Hello! Hello?”). Modular, playful, smart and creative. I love it!
Style and Substance
ASUS’ design and engineering departments are made up of a radical bunch of people, always thinking out of the box. Their Transformer series of tablets/netbooks/slates show the DNA of PadFone’s origins with the tablet’s connection to the keyboard dock. The Transformer Prime was recently launched in India for US$ 1,016 (Rs. 49,999), which some found too expensive for a tablet. But it’s not just a tablet, it’s also a netbook — a fast, beautifully-made, intelligent machine. But I digress.
Practical and Fun
The ASUS PadFone’s dynamic display ensures whatever you were watching on your smartphone seamlessly displays on the tablet when you integrate both devices. You can extend your phone’s battery life fivefold by putting it in the tablet, and extend battery usage up to nine times by hooking up the PadFone Station to its dock. You extend your smartphone’s battery a bit more by using the PadFone Stylus Handset, because you can take or make calls while your phone is in the tablet or docked. I just can’t get over the bluetooth stylus/handset, it’s so cool man! I think ASUS will be first to market Star Trek-style communicators by next year, where you tap your left chest to talk to your boss, and you press your right temple to talk to your buddies (I’d like to add: where you squeeze your jewels when the wife is calling, but nah…).
The PadFone by itself is already an impressive bit of kit, with a fast CPU, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), and an 8Megapix rear camera. Integrating the smartphone with the PadFone Station through a rear slot is very innovative, and ASUS designed it in such a way that the tablet uses the smartphone’s 3G connection to save on multiple data plans. The PadFone will serve as repository and brain for both devices, so syncing up is instantaneous. I suggest going for the PadFone with the highest memory (64Gb eMMc Flash), plus a couple of 16Gb Micro-SD cards. You can also opt to push your files into the Clouds (My Cloud is preloaded on the PadFone).
As a smartphone, the PadFone can barely hold its own against the latest crop of quad-core phones coming out this year. As a tablet, it’s not going to break any records. As a netbook, it has plenty of competition, especially from its own backyard. As a total package, it just might be quirky enough to succeed. I hope it does, because it shows there’s more quirky cool gadgets in the pipeline. I know future generations will look back at our technology today and smile with nostalgia (or like me, pee in their pants trying to write a story), saying: “That was so cute back then, when Nana had to plug the phone into a tablet, then dock it to use the keyboard. Who would’ve thought that we now have the keyboard integrated in our fingertips?” Whatever the case may be, the PadFone has a lot of ground to cover and customers to please when the PadFone ships out next month.
ASUS PadFone Specifications
Here are additional details about this excellent phon-tab-book thingy.
- Platform: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 8260A Dual-Core 1.5 GHz
- Memory: 16/32/64 GB eMMc Flash
- Memory Slot: Micro-SD card
- Display: 4.3inches, qHD 960×540, Super AMOLED with Capacitive Multi touch panel
- Battery: 1520 mAh Lithium
- Standby Time: 373 /440 hours(2G/3G)
- Talk Time: 650 /510 hours(2G/3G)
- Connectivity Technology: WLAN 802.11 b/g/n
- Network Standard: WCDMA
HSPA+ UL:5.76 Mbps/DL:21 Mbps
WCDMA : 900/2100
EDGE/GPRS/GSM : 850/900/1800/1900,
- GPS: Qualcomm GPS (AGPS supported)
- Camera Front: 0.3 Mega-Pixel VGA Camera
- Camera Rear: 8 Mega-Pixel Auto Focus Flash F2.2 Aperture
All images are courtesy of ASUS.
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