Asus Padfone: A Smartphone That Snaps into a Tablet

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1. How much will it cost?

It’ll need to be priced to move. Motorola and AT&T have tried a similar idea with the Atrix 4G phone and laptop dock combo, but the laptop dock—which doesn’t work without the phone—costs $500 unless you buy it alongside the phone and lock yourself into a two-year contract. Even then it costs $300. Asus generally prices things pretty aggressively, so I’d hope to see the tablet accessory come in at under $200. At $250, things get a little dicey. At $300, it’d almost be a non-starter.

DigiTimes reports that the Padfone bundle, which features a 4.3-inch smartphone and 10-inch tablet accessory, would carry “an estimated price at US$799-1,000” and hit retail around the holidays. That’s before carrier subsidies, though, which would hopefully push the price down substantially.

2. Will it only work with one phone?

Asus would be smart to make the Padfone accessory compatible with as many of its upcoming smartphones as possible. It’d entice people to buy Asus smartphones in the future, but nobody’s going to want to keep re-buying the same tablet accessory for each new phone.

3. Will the tablet run tablet-specific apps when the phone is docked?

The Android smartphone runs phone-specific apps. Will the tablet run tablet-specific apps or will it only run phone-specific apps blown up to fill the high-resolution screen. This may get worked out on the software side of things, as Google’s pushing to merge its tablet-specific Android operating system with future lines of Android phones and, indeed, this combo will run Google’s upcoming “Ice Cream Sandwich” version of Android that’s set to do just that.


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