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The Asus Padfone: Does it make sense?

Posted: , by Victor H.

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The Asus Padfone: Does it make sense?
Differentiation is what tablets have been sorely missing and that’s the main reason for our excitement over the Asus Padfone, but as innovative as it is we asked ourselves one question: Does it make sense? Do we really need a strange bundle of a smartphone and a tablet? And do we need even more confusion with the tablet in the combo not being a real tablet, but rather just a plain chassis holding a screen, stereo speakers and a battery with no processor brains of its own? Our short answer to all those questions is probably yes.

But we have to mention that the Padfone we saw announced at Computex was far from a final unit. Still an early mockup, the Padfone is set to arrive in its full twin glory at the end of the year. So our comments are more on the idea than on the real product. It’s not groundbreakingly novel – Motorola was the first to bring the chassis in a notebook form with its Laptop Dock for the Motorola Atrix 4G, but price was the major stumbling point there. Will Asus, however, be able to materialize its concept?

Tucking the 4.3-inch smartphone into the 10-inch tablet chassis gives you 8 more hours of juice

Tucking the 4.3-inch smartphone into the 10-inch tablet chassis gives you 8 more hours of juice

First of all, we have to mention that with the Padfone Asus has touched the core of many people’s gripes about gadgets – they are becoming way too many while some (if not most) of their basic functions duplicate: a personal computer at home, a notebook for mobility, a smartphone in your pocket, a tablet for consuming media on the go, a gaming console… All of them running on a separate processor, so you have to pay for virtually the same silicon not twice, but three, four or even five times if you want to own all of the aforementioned. That wouldn’t have been so bad if those devices came with no service requiring monthly fees, but paying for Internet service once for your desktop, then for your smartphone (don’t forget separate fees for tethering) and finally for your tablet - aside from being impractical – is just wastefully expensive.

You can still use the phone's camera when it's inside the tablet chassis further cutting the cost of the combo

You can still use the phone's camera when it's inside the tablet chassis further cutting the cost of the combo

Secondly, while some of those devices like a PC and a notebook, could be used as standalone devices, tablets and smartphones have been lacking that feature as in some cases (think iDevices) both require either activation or constant communication with another computer to stay up-to-date. And having to first synchronize your smartphone, then do the same thing with the tablet is also a waste – of your time.

Does that mean that we don’t want a tablet? Not at all – having some ten inches of screen estate is a luxury which has basically created a new segment. But still striking a perfect balance would involve having less of that repetitive silicon and monthly fees, while maintaining functionality. That’s why Asus is right on the money with its idea which presumably puts the single processor of the smartphone to use in two devices and leverages your smartphone Internet service to your tablet.

That’s as close as it gets to killing two birds with one stone, but some cons are inevitable. What about the likely scenario when your phone rings and you're using the tablet? Asus is still to address those issues, but, finally, it’s the yet undetermined price point that will define the Padfone. The Eee series of netbooks back in 2007 kickstarted the netbook craze with something more than functionality – an unmatched price tag. Asus seems to have nailed it once again with its Eee PC X101, a netbook for just $199. And that’s what we find truly irresistible about the company. Will it manage to seduce us with the price of its Padfone? We would certainly keep a close watch.

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posted on 02 Jun 2011, 10:59 2

1. grundeldeluxe (unregistered)


Although I think that the newest onslaught of tablets are really cool, I personally haven't found a use for them in my everyday life, and it just seems like an exorbitant luxury. The PadFone is probably the one idea that has made me reconsider that notion. The ability to use my existing cell phone data plan on a tablet, and extend the functionality of my mobile device is a really intriguing notion. If the ASUS Padfone has tmobile 3g frequency support and retails for $650 or under I will pre-order one ASAP.

posted on 03 Jun 2011, 00:38 1

25. daniel_bargs (Posts: 322; Member since: 27 Nov 2010)


me too! this is the perfect gadget for us all! if u want a tablet, just simply insert the phone into the tablet body then BOOOM! you have a tablet. no separate SIM cards means no separate bills which in turns saves data charges! too smart asus! i have another reason to wait. haha competition really rocks!

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 05:40

32. Firedrops (Posts: 199; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)


I agree. At first, I was rather skeptical of this idea, and even thought of it as just a marketing gimmick, but after re-considering, I realized that this is just the thing I need. However, I can't help but fear that only a very very limited number of mobiles will be compatible with this pad.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 11:15 2

3. Bob (unregistered)


Tablets are not practical for everyday long-hour usage. I think the form factor of the laptop is more suitable. The combo of Motorola Atrix & its laptop dock, therfore, seems more practical than the combo above. This ain't gonna work.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 11:24 1

4. gescalona (Posts: 9; Member since: 04 Apr 2011)


I like the idea if the phone is powerfull, but no flash... that's a problem for me!

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 11:37 1

5. Madog (unregistered)


It's a cool choice, that's what I love about Android.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 12:34

6. ArmageddonX (Posts: 96; Member since: 11 May 2011)


I don't think this is the perfection of this idea, but I love the idea. I would really like to be able to carry around once device that could function as my phone & tablet. Maybe a 10inch Tablet with a Bluetooth Headset for calls? I would love that.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 12:41

7. cc16177 (Posts: 312; Member since: 09 May 2010)


I agree.If I could get a tablet I could use a bluetooth with for calls I would ditch my TB in a sec...

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 19:29

21. Taharin (unregistered)


Well, if you're really interested in the idea there are two devices which could be used.
The HTC Flyer and the Galaxy Tab. Both 7in Tablets 'can' have the Gingerbread OS, which has built in support for both phone calls, SMS and video calls. HTC Flyer comes stock with Gingerbread, Galaxy Tab has to be updated; I use a Galaxy Tab with Gingerbread and it is amazing to be able to make calls with it. A 7in screen on a Tablet faster than 90% of the phones, voice capable. Gingerbread also permits for Netflix streaming.
Find yourself the right pair of Bluetooth headphones and you're golden.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 12:52

8. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


its a great Idea and we may see more of it since Google bought and interesting protect we may see as the future

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 13:00 3

9. Jano (unregistered)


My answer is definitely : Yes, it does make sense, at least for me! I had this idea for a while. it would be a great help for me, for sure. I have been waiting for any company to pick up this idea for a very long time, and finally here it goes :) I just can't wait it :)

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 13:25

10. tbar (Posts: 34; Member since: 18 Jan 2010)


For quite a while, I've been thinking I just need a phone with NFC that I can lay on my desk and connect to monitors, a keyboard and mouse wirelessly. That would even negate the need for my desktop computer. With the processors phones have now, that is certainly feasible. This is really just another direction for the same concept. I love the idea of having a tablet without another required data plan (which is ridiculous (I have an unlimited data plan, so I should be able to tether without additoinal costs, but that's another story). So, now I'm thinking I could have this type of combo device with NFC and still do what I want. Now we just need options to do this with iOS and WP7.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 13:49

11. nb2six (Posts: 298; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)


this is one of the first steps in which the manufacturer is building something that is truly beneficial for the consumer not the carrier. This eliminates the need of having to add a extra data package to a plan in order to operate another device. ASUS you've got my vote!!

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 14:17 1

14. atrain1385 (Posts: 10; Member since: 02 Jun 2011)


i agree totally hopefully this will catch on with other companies people like simple and flexable not redudant and static

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 13:52 1

12. android_hitman (Posts: 587; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)


the question is:

does it make sense that apple didn't came up with this idea???

i love this new gagdet and i will buy it... mainly just because it's android and not apple ..

yes yes i know... i am an apple basher :P

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 14:27

15. Hello-dirt (Posts: 100; Member since: 02 May 2010)


I hope they team up with the big guys to allow more phones than just their Asus phones to connect to the Padfone. It would be awesome to see this as an accessory for any dualcore phone such as the GSII, Sensation, or...I do not think Motorola will happily adopt due to competition with their overpriced dock. I'm imagining walking into my respective cell shop looking to upgrade or buy a phone and picking up one of Asus's docks for an extra $200 w/out any contract...what a dream it would be!

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 16:43

16. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


it's a good idea, i'd jump on if ASUS and Google does this right, i'd like it better if it were like Compufon's concept which subtracts the door and makes an adequately large enough slot to just slide the phone into with the Micro USB and HDMI connectors plugging in at the bottom of the phone and a hole in the front for the phone's front facing camera to peek out and then Google would have to make the experience good enough with Ice Cream Sandwich or otherwise i'd just soon go with Motorola's Webtop experience.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 17:44

17. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


personally, i love the idea. Now if they could somehow make it compatable with more than just the asus phone, that would help their sales a bit.

What I would love even better is if this tablet was compatable with their transformer keyboard dock as well

phone + tablet + keyboard = ultimate versatility.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 18:37

19. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


your keyboard thought may very well be what they have in store, it makes all the sense in the world.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 19:05

20. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


if they dont, i think its a huge missed opportunity since they already have the set up ready to go.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 20:45

23. hhaa (unregistered)


I think it makes perfect sense and that Samsung should seriously consider making something like it for their Galaxy S2 phone.

I personally don't see much use for a standalone tablet as a smart phone can do the same job but just in a more compact form.

However, I would definitely consider an add on device such as the ATRIX laptop dock or even better the PadFone pad which simply lets me hook up my phone to for longer usage and more viewing area as I tend to travel alot and plane journeys can be a bit boring.

A standalone pad would make just my life more complicated where as I'd have to transfer files here and there, or forever sync data between devices.
I've already given up on laptops because of all the transferring and frankly haven't missed it either.

posted on 04 Jun 2011, 11:35

28. Matt (unregistered)


Love it, but buying the ep121, if only the ep121 had this functionality plus docking to a computer that could have upgraded graphics, then life would be bliss and perfect, although not an asus fan boy (I was actually trying to move all to lenovo), I can see they bring out the goods (hardware) continuously.... if only they can bring out a fucking site to easily update it all (drivers and utility's) with + software that is not bloatware...... your great asus, just a couple more steps and you will have me (and I am sure most of the sain world) back whole heartedly.

posted on 04 Jun 2011, 11:37 1

29. Jeromeo (Posts: 135; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


If they are bundled together and sold together, then you'll sell the concept, too.
Ever see a salesperson at an AT&T store trying to up-sell the Atrix's dock? The most common type of customer response is 'No, I don't really want to pay for all these extras; the phone alone is fine.'

posted on 04 Jun 2011, 15:56

30. none@none (unregistered)


I already have the atrix and the web-laptop experience is slow and utterly useless. If you are going to break something out the size of a laptop then might as well use a laptop with win7 as win7 give you more flexible on the apps that run your daily work life. As for, this idea I like. Sometime I want to just browse the web, read PDF or check email and reply without busting out the lappy and I can just do this on the phone except now I have a bigger screen :D. This I will buy. Tablet are just for web experience only. It was never mean to do daily work.

posted on 07 Jun 2011, 16:19

31. DASPRiD (unregistered)


"The Asus Padfone: Does it make sense?"

No, HTC makes Sense ;)

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