AT&T Bets on Asus' PadFone Smartphone-Tablet Hybrid

1 - AT&T Bets on Asus' PadFone Smartphone-Tablet Hybrid
2 - Meet the Asus PadFone From AT&T
3 - The PadFone's Phone
4 - For Context
5 - Form-Factor Bragging Rights
6 - Dual, Front-Facing Speakers
7 - A Third Form-Factor Option
8 - Three Easy Pieces
9 - PadFone Station
10 - A Matter of Priorities
11 - Move to Hybrid
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AT&T Bets on Asus' PadFone Smartphone-Tablet Hybrid

by Michelle Maisto

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Meet the Asus PadFone From AT&T

AT&T will exclusively sell the Asus PadFone, a two-in-one smartphone-plus-tablet device. The smartphone (and so the tablet) runs Android 4.4 (KitKat), has an 800 quad-core, 2.3GHz processor and a 5-inch Full HD display with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels and 441 pixels per inch.

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The PadFone's Phone

The smartphone measures 143.93 by 72.46 by 9.98mm. Very noticeably, it's thick. (The Samsung Galaxy S5, with its 5.1-inch display, measures 142 by 72.5 by 8.1mm.) While the PadFone may offer a great user experience, a first impression is that it's not a phone anyone will hurry to show off to friends.

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For Context

Again, for size context, here's the PadFone and the Apple iPhone 5S. These devices likely aren't intended for the same audiences; while Apple aims to give users the best possible smartphone experience, Asus is attempting to address use-case needs with a variety of form factors.

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Form-Factor Bragging Rights

What users may excitedly show off is how the phone slips into the back of the PadPhone Station's 9-inch display, transforming it into a tablet. Here, the Station is wearing an optional blue cover that includes a soft front flap that protects the display and that, like other popular covers, can be folded to behave as a stand.

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Dual, Front-Facing Speakers

Asus has integrated speakers along the front of the tablet, ensuring sound isn't lost when the cover is on.

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A Third Form-Factor Option

Among other accessories for the PadFone is a $99 dock-slash-keyboard that introduces a third form-factor option.

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Three Easy Pieces

The phone becomes a tablet, which can become a laptop. When the phone is in the tablet Station, it's said to get twice the battery life. When the tablet or laptop are plugged in, the phone charges.

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PadFone Station

The Station (or, tablet element) has a 9-inch display with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 and 252 pixels per inch. It has an LTE antenna, Bluetooth, and a 4,990mAh (non-removable) battery that offers 8 hours of browsing time over WiFi and 6.4 hours over LTE.

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A Matter of Priorities

Asus, like other device makers, understands well the difficulty of competing against Samsung and Apple. The PadFone is a way of fighting for market share using more than just a smartphone. While its various form factors may not offer the optimum experience, many consumers may find it worthwhile to make small concessions and get more form factor for their money.

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Move to Hybrid

AT&T will exclusively offer Asus' PadFone, and the two companies have a multi-year deal. Asus' Benson Lin suggested another device is coming soon. Sales of this device will be watched closely. As consumers' desire for mobility and device convenience grows, can value-minded users be persuaded to choose more options over more popular devices?