The Asus PadFone is an Android device that snaps inside a PadFone Station tablet, which can then connect to a keyboard, for a smartphone-to-tablet-to-netbook experience.
Jonney Shih introduced the very versatile PadFone at Mobile World Congress in
Barcelona Feb. 27. With this Android-based device, Asus is attempting to cover
the entire field of mobilityfrom smartphone to tablet to laptop.
More than a
4.3-inch smartphone running Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the Padfone is one of a
family of complementary devices. It clicks into a 10.1-inch PadFone Station
tablet, which can click into a PadFone Station Dock, letting a user move
seamlessly between smartphone, tablet and netbook experiences.
PadFone measures 5 by 2.6 by 0.36 inches, and weighs 4.5 ounces. It features a
1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a VGA
front-facing camera and a quarter-high-definition (qHD) 960 by 540 Super AMOLED
(active-matrix organic LED) display with a capacitive multi-touch panel and
Gorilla Glass. WiFi, 3G, 4G and Assisted GPS are all supported.
It can also be
used with a special stylusthough more on that in a moment.
Dynamic Display technology means users don't need to be cautious about booting
up one device inside another; a user can start a video on the phone, slip the
phone inside the tablet and the video will resume where the viewer last saw it.
these devices symbiotic, but they're arguably parasitic instead. The smartphone
charges while inside the tablet, and in addition to showing that video on the
large screen, it makes use of the tablet's larger, louder speakers as well. The
tablet, when clicked into the dock, likewise begins drawing a charge. The
PadFone's battery is extended by five times with the Station and nine times
with the Station Dock.
feature is the PadFone's "one-stop storage," which means all things
are equal across devices. There's no need to sync. Pull the PadFone from the
tablet and all the same data is on board.
the rules and changing the status quo are the keys to our success," Shih
said in a statement, "and we strive to offer customers an experience that
surpasses their expectations."
Motorola introduced its Atrix 4G smartphone-laptop combo in January 2011, but
the Asus design does takes things a step further. While the Atrix 4G smartphone
clicked into a dock that turned it into the brain of a lightweight netbook, the
Asus PadFone gets closed inside the tabletmore literally its brain.
when you get a phone call? You can take it on the PadFone's Bluetooth headsetwhich,
transformed, is also the stylus.
ahead of Toshiba during the fourth quarter of 2011, making it the fifth-ranking
global PC maker, according to Gartner, though the second-fastest growing
company. Year-over-year, it managed a 20.5 percent boost, putting it close
behind No. 2 vendor Lenovo, which grew by 23 percent.
Hewlett-Packard fell by 16.2 percent year-over-year.
sales were "generally weak," Gartner analysts said in a Jan. 11
statement, though the company found success in shifting from mini notebooks, or
netbooks, to more traditional notebooks. Nearly 80 percent of Asus' mobile PC
shipments during the quarter were notebooks.
The PadFone is
expected to begin shipping in April, though pricing and other details have not
yet been revealed.
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.