Asus announces the dual SIM PadFone mini with an Intel Atom inside
Asus is giving a serious boost to its PadFone family of products this year, with not one but two new successors to the original concept. Dubbed the PadFone mini, the smartphone-that-becomes-a-tablet is hopping onto the mini craze bandwagon with a miniature (for today's standards) 4-inch smartphone and an equally compact 7-inch tablet dock.
Unlike the equally new PadFone X, we have quite some information on what the the PadFone mini has going for it in terms of hardware. The aforementioned 4-inch TFT panel sports a WVGA resolution of 480x800 pixels, or about 233ppi, while the tablet dock touts a slightly less-crisp 800x1280 pixel TFT display (~215ppi). In charge of all the brain-work are a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 chipset and 1GB of LPDDR2 RAM, both of which should provide a mostly smooth experience, considering the manageable pixel count. On the photography front, things are looking even better, for an 8-megapixel Sony-made BSI unit with f/2.0 aperture and five-element lens is what we're dealing with. We're actually told to expect some pretty awesome low-light shots and an easy-to-use interface, thanks to Asus' proprietary PixelMaster software, though do keep in mind that this is likely more of a marketing talk than anything else.
Moving onto internal memory, we've got the rather insufficient 8GB of storage, though there is a slot for microSD expansion, which is great. On the connectivity end, we're treated to dual SIM capabilities, Bluetooth 4.0, and DC-HSDPA+ speeds of up to 42Mbps, which is still plenty fast, but obviously not 4G LTE-fast. Battery capacity sits at 1170mAh for the smartphone, while the tablet station sports a larger, 2100mAh cell, or 3270mAh in total. That's not exactly impressive, though do keep in mind that connecting the phone to the dock will charge its battery which means quite the mileage, at least theoretically.
And finally, Asus appears fairly excited about its new ZenUI that will run on top of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean in the case of the PadFone mini, and Android 4.4 KitKat in a future update, or so we're promised. Details around ZenUI are super-scarce at this point, though it definitely looks pretty refined from the few shots we've seen of the new interface and we're actually interested to see where the Taiwanese goes from here.
Pricing and availability remain unknown at this point, though we do hope to hear more and sooner rather than later.