Apr 12th, 2013

ASUS made some pretty epic strides in the smartphone-tablet hybrid game with the Padfone combination, but you soon won’t need to own an ASUS smartphone in order to get that same sort of experience. Introducing the PhonePad+, an accessory designed to turn many smartphones into a tablet with a very nice and practical design.

It’s a 10.1 inch 1024 x 600 touch-screen slate that works in conjunction with your phone through Bluetooth, USB and MHL. Your phone — limited to the Samsung Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3 for now, but the Galaxy S4 will be supported soon after launch — essentially becomes the guts of the tablet, delivering the video and audio to the touchscreen and stereo speakers this thing is outfitted with.

The PhonePad+ can be twisted and turned to fit any situation, be it a laptop-esque clamshell, swiveled to become a desktop presentation display, or slid down to become a traditional style tablet. The device features 8 hours of battery life, and you also have the option of charging your smartphone with the PhonePad+’s battery while it’s docked inside. Gaming is emphasized here, too, as each PhonePad+ will come with a free fully-featured Bluetooth gaming controller that looks like it belongs on a console.

This awesome sounding package is set to launch this June in the United Kingdom and will run for a cool £149.99. There are no current plans to bring it to any other regions, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed. The best part is that this isn’t another Kickstarter or IndieGoGo hopeful — the project was privately funded, and there’s no uncertainty standing in the way of a proper release.

Some of you may be turned away by the lack of support for non-Galaxy S smartphones, but Eicus Media tells us to be on the lookout for support for phones from another major smartphone vendor sometime after launch. We don’t know who, exactly, that manufacturer will be, but we imagine HTC, Sony, LG and Motorola are all likely candidates.

Eicus couldn’t give a straight answer to the question of whether or not they’d be looking at one-size-fits-all designs, but we were told that the project is always evolving and that future PhonePad+ designs could open up some unique possibilities. Take that for what you will, but they’re only promising support for certain smartphones for the time being.

The PhonePad+ will display a 100% mirror of your smartphone for the foreseeable future, and unless Google adds native support for switching to tablet mode in Android (or if Samsung or any future OEMs decide to add it in their firmware) it doesn’t appear that will change. We’re excited for the product regardless, and we’re eager to see how many other phones will eventually be supported as we inch closer toward the device’s coming out party in June. Head to the PhonePad+ site for more information.