BARCELONA—Asus announced Monday that its PadFone tablet-smartphone hybrid will go on sale in April. The company also announced that its Eee Pad Transformer devices will be renamed the more simple Transformer Pads, with two more tablets added to the lineup.
The PadFone was first introduced at Computex 2011 in Taiwan as a convergent device that docks a smartphone into the back of a tablet, allowing them to be used a single device. At the time, however, it was still a concept device and Asus Chairman Jonney Shih used the company's press conference there to show off a prototype device.
Today, however, the Asus PadFone is a more fully formed device, and it will hit store shelves in April, with an LTE model to follow in the third quarter, Shih said during an event here at Mobile World Congress.
The PadFone is a 4.3-inch smartphone with a super AMOLED, 960-by-540 display. It runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
The device boasts an 8-megapixel, rear-facing digital camera with Fuji image processor and a VGA camera on the front. It comes in at 128 x 65.4 x 9.2mm.
The PadFone, however, will transform into a 10.1-inch tablet when placed inside the optional PadFone Station. This, Asus said, will provide the PadFone with five times the battery capacity and seamless transitions between the smartphone and tablet.
The tablet includes a 1280-by-800 display made from Corning Gorilla glass. There is a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, as well as micro-USB and micro-HDMI connections.
An optional keyboard dock can turn the Padfone into a portable computing device, Asus said. Further, customers can purchase the Padfone Stylus Headset, a Bluetooth stylus pen that can be used to answer calls so you don't have to undock the PadFone or hold a tablet up to your face.
Pricing was not announced.
Transformer Pad Lineup Expands
In addition to the PadFone, Asus expanded the Transformer Pad lineup with the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity and Asus Transformer Pad 300 Series.
Asus said the Infinity series will be the first full HD 4G LTE/3G/Wi-Fi tablets. They will include a 1920-by-1200 full HD Super IPS+ display, and a metallic spun finish.
The 4G Transformer Pad Infinity will run the Qualcomm MSM 8960 Snapdragon S4 Krait dual-core, 1.5-GHz processor. The devices come in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB flavors, with 8GB of free Asus WebStorage for life.
The Infinity has a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video conferencing and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.
The Asus Transformer Pad 300 Series, meanwhile, will be the first quad-core 4G LTE/3G/Wi-Fi tablet, Asus said, running the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor.
The 10.1-inch device will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and features 16GB of storage and 8GB of Asus WebStorage. There is a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel rear-facing one that allows for 1080p video capture.
Asus promised about 10 hours of battery life, which will be extended to 15 hours when paired with the mobile keyboard dock.
The 300 Series will come in blue, white, and red, it is targeted at "the young and trendy, tech-savvy set who are looking for more individuality, value, and performance in their tablet," Asus said.
Release dates and pricing for the Infinity and 300 Series were not discussed.