Asus Padfone: Phone, tablet, pen with a speaker in it... eh?
One of the most interesting devices we got wind of last year was the Asus Padfone, a phone and tablet combination. However, the interesting part was that the phone could be docked within the tablet to give you the best of both worlds; a large screen, good battery life, and a tablet with 3G data.
Now Asus has officially launched the device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and there are even more surprises up its sleeve.
The phone portion comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwhich, and there is a generous 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display to make that new interface look as awesome as possible.
A Qualcomm 8260A Cortex A15 (dual-core 1.5 GHz) processor can be found in its bowels, with 1GB DDR2 RAM to ensure things whip along at a fair lick. It can come with 16GB or 32GB of memory in-built, while a microSD card slot allows you to boost that by up to a further 32GB.
There's an 8-megapixel camera on the front, VGA one on the rear, plus a LED flash and the ability to record 1080p video. Its 1520mAh lithium-ion battery comes with claims of up to 650 minutes talktime, 373 hours of standby. And it's 128 x 65.4 x 9.2mm, weighing 128g.
More tech is housed in the tablet part itself. Dynamic Display resizes whatever content you were viewing on the Padfone to naturally fit the pad's 10.1-inch (1280 x 800) multi-touch screen. And there's a 1.3 megapixel front-mounted camera. When docked, the tablet sports a heftier 6600mAh battery for much longer use.
As if a phone that slides in to a tablet wasn't enough for one device, there is also an optional bolt-on keyboard available. But, as peripherals go, perhaps the most bonkers is Asus' new stylus, which operates like a speakerphone. On it are a microphone and speaker in order to receive calls while writing. Honestly, we couldn't have made something like that up, even if we wanted to.
Asus is also introducing something called SonicMaster Audio, which is the firm's answer to Beats on HTC devices. However, the value of these audio processing systems has really yet to be determined, unless Asus has lots of special headphones planned for making the most out of these devices, it may end up being a gimmick.
The Padfone will launch in April, but we don't have any details on pricing yet. We could guess it will be pretty damn expensive, though.