Asus has officially taken the wraps off of the Padfone, the hybrid phone/tablet/laptop concept announced last year, now made a reality. Asus Chairman Jonney Shih unveiled the 3-in-1 device at a packed press event at Mobile World Congress.
The basic USP of the Asus Padfone is simple; you’ve got an Android phone that runs Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s got a 4.3-inch screen (qHD, Super AMOLED, 5-megapixel camera with a f/2.2 lens and runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip (1.5GHz dual-core, Cortex A15 class, Adreno 225 GPU) .
This then slots into a tablet dock, transforming the device into a 10.1-inch tablet. Though the tablet portion of the dock is essentially dumb, there’s a built in battery that gives you an extra 5 times more battery life.
Perhaps most importantly, the Padfone tablet dock is compatible with the same keyboard dock of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. We guessed as much when we clapped eyes on an early model back at CES.
This automatically gives you a full Qwerty keyboard set up with a trackpad, a full-sized USB port, an SD card slot and additional battery power, up to 9 times more.
Speak and stylus
What’s really amazing about the Asus Padfone however is the active stylus that it works with. As well as letting you draw, scribble and take notes on compatible apps, the Asus Padfone’s stylus, almost unbelievably, works as a wireless received headset.
Jonney Shih stunned the assembled audience when he took a call from Qualcomm’s Chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs who was hiding backstage, using the actual stylus.
If that doesn’t make you want to rush out any buy one right now we don’t know what will. The stylus is a freaking headset!
Other points worth noting from Asus’ presentation is that the Padfone’s phone and tablets dock pretty seamlessly – there’s virtually no transition period when you dock the two devices, or remove the phone portion of the Padfone from the tablet – Asus calls this 1 Stop Storage.
The Padfone tablet’s external speakers also feature Asus’ SonicMaster technology, which promises ‘deeper, richer bass and warm and captivating vocals.’
Due to hit the shelves in April this year, stay tuned for pricing of the Asus Padfone along with some hands-on shots coming soon.