We haven’t heard much from the ASUS Padfone since it was teased then eventually revealed last year. Arguably one of the greatest ideas ever to hit Android, I was hoping we’d see a lot more from the device. Well, on my trip to ASUS’s CES showing, I was not only able to snag some pics of the device behind its plexiglass enclosure — but after a little sweet talking (I’ve heard my voice could be rather soothing), ASUS was kind enough to enough to give Phandroid some hands-on time with the hybrid device.
Part smartphone and part tablet, the ASUS Padfone allows for seamless transition between your smartphone and tablet by docking the phone portion inside the tablet and moving from a phone user interface, to a tablet interface with no fuss. To show off how seamless the Padfone handles this, ASUS had a video running on the smartphone while docking the device inside the tablet and although there was a slight delay (this is still very early software and very early hardware), the video picked up on the tablet exactly where it left off on the phone. Impressive to say the least.
Details on both portions of the Padfone were scarce thanks to a language barrier and given the prototype we got our hands on is still very much in the early stages of development. The smartphone — or “brains” of the Padfone — is a 4.3-inch device with an IPS display, 8MP shooter and runs on Ice Cream Sandwich. To be expected, all the usual ports made an appearance on both the tablet and smartphone. You have micro USB, HDMI and 3.5mm jacks. Not the thinnest smartphone or tablets on the market but they are definitely not the thickest either. The quality of both devices felt solid with a great build quality and even a little premium thanks to aluminum accents throughout.
While I’m sure you can already think up a few benefits of having a smartphone that transforms into a tablet, there are a few we’d like to emphasize. Gone are the days of having a separate data plan for both your smartphone and tablet. The Padfone makes it easy to use only 1 SIM and data plan that’s good for both devices.
The Padfone also virtually eliminates the hassle of having to constantly transfer (or sync) your media from one device to another, just to access your content on both devices. Another thing, the smartphone actually charges while it’s docked adding extra battery life to the smartphone when you finally need to undock it.
Obviously, being able to convert whatever you’re working on to a larger display, while still having all the functionality of a smartphone on a tablet. SMS phone calls, wireless data — the future is here. Well, coming soon anyway. ASUS mentioned that they are currently shopping around for US carriers to pick up the device but that’s easier said than done. I would imagine a carrier like Verizon Wireless wouldn’t take so well to a smartphone that could transform into a tablet, circumventing the need for a separate tablet data plan. Guess we’ll have to see.
So what do you guys think about the Padfone? Success or flop? For the main attraction, you can check out our full hands-on video down below. Enjoy.