Asus Padfone; where tablet meets phone

Jonathan Morris
May 31, 2011

If you thought tablets, smartphones and laptops were all separate devices, think again. We already have tablets and smartphones that become laptops, and now we have a smartphone that becomes a tablet.

The Asus Padfone comprises a normal smartphone, with a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera and Garmin navigation software, and a tablet with integrated dock that bumps up the screen output to 10-inches.

It operates in a similar fashion to the Motorola ATRIX, which can be connected to a HD TV or laptop dock (LapDock) to display a PC-like desktop screen with separate windows and icons. Like the ATRIX, the Padfone tablet takes the processing power and memory from the smartphone. It even uses the camera from the handset, by way of a simple hole in the rear cover.

Whereas the Motorola uses Android 2.2 for the phone and a separate Webtop application for the output to the LapDock or TV, the Padfone intends to use the forthcoming Ice Cream Sandwich OS, which bridges the gap between Android 2.3 and Android 3.0.

Don’t expect to buy a Padfone just yet, however, as it’s not likely to be released until the end of the year, but do expect to see more of these hybrid/converged devices being announced in the coming months from just about everyone that currently makes phones, tablets and laptops.

The question is; would you buy one? Is it a cheaper way to get a tablet, does it solve the issue of having two individual contracts for mobile data, or does it defeat the object of having a separate tablet that anyone can pick up and use at any time?

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