Considering the relative success ASUS has already seen in the tablet space it’s no surprise they want to keep them coming. The EeePad Transformer, according to them, is selling pretty well and they recently revealed another impressive Android tablet… err phone… no, tablet phone… Oh yea, it’s the Padfone.
What if we could take our tiny smartphone screen and blow it up to 10.1-inches whenever we wanted? We’d never have to squint again and when our phone rings we could just squish it back down to handheld size and answer the call. See where ASUS is going with this?
Rather than going out and spending money on a smartphone and a tablet, ASUS is going to combine the two… sorta. The smartphone will be just like any other Android handset we’ve seen before. What separates the Padfone from the competition isn’t the handheld itself, but the dock. In essence, the “Pad” aspect of the Padfone is just a 10.1-inch touch screen USB monitor with a battery shoved in it.
The phone provides all the computing power and a 3G connection for access to the web. Toss it in the back of the Padfone tablet-dock and your ready to go. The phone connects to a mini-HDMI and mini-USB at the same time, then you close the lid, completely hiding the handset it from view.
Details were absent regarding which version of Android will be running on the Padfone, but speculation is already swirling the web with “Ice Cream Sandwich” in the eye of the storm. It is definitely a possibility — ASUS says the Padfone’s interface will automatically adjust to better suit the larger screen size when it is docked and Google has already told us Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) would not be coming to smartphones. If you check out the promo video on the Padfone site you’ll see the same navigation bar we were introduced to in Honeycomb. But, if Honeycomb isn’t coming to smartphones (where the “brains” of this device will be located) than we can only move forward, right?
No pricing or availability was announced so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens over the coming months. As far as Ice Cream Sandwich goes, Google’s Eric Schmidt will be talking at the D9 Conference later today — fingers crossed we’ll learn something there.