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back to article Asus peddles three-in-one smartphone, tablet, netbook

Reg Hardware Mobile Week Asus has officially launched its anticipated Padfone at MWC 2012, the all-in-one smartphone, tablet and netbook it announced almost a year ago. Asus Padfone The phone itself features a 4.3in display with the choice of either 16GB or 32GB of storage. There's also an 8Mp camera and 1GB of memory, …

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Silver badge

Dear Samsung,

Learn, guys.

Instead of just copying everything Apple do, try coming up with your own ideas Baldrick Samsung. Having your own ideas is so important!

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Devil

Damn...

I lost my phone, so there goes my tablet & netbook too...

Nice concept... but I cannot help thinking I've seen this idea peddled somewhere before...

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Silver badge
Meh

Re: Damn...

Also.... if my phone is docked inside the tablet, how do I make/receive calls?

The concept is certainly interesting, but what it really seems to be doing is giving the ability to use one computing device + add-ons to have 3 different computing form factors. So, apps, internet connection through 3g or 4g + wi-fi, but potentially no audio phone calls?

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FAIL

Re: Re: Damn...

El Reg hjas singularly failed to mention it, but there is a stylus that comes (presumably) with the tablet accessory that doubles as a bluetooth-type headset for making calls while in tablet mode.

Seems like a clever idea.

Endgadget has info:

<url>http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/27/asus-padfone-formally-launched-4-3-inch-super-amoled-display-s/</url>

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Branding...?

Have Asus no idea about branding at all? The name "Asus" is a week brand (I keep mixing them up with Acer, and I've got an Asus laptop and an Acer Ee.... oh look, I've done it again). They've just dropped the Eee brand for Transformer, and just when the ultimate "Transformer" form factor appears, they go and change it again. What's wrong with "Transformer Phone" or "Transformer Padphone"?

The next step could have been a "Transformer home" -- a lap-mounted keyboard with phone dock and wireless HDMI.

One computer, all form-factors. Transformer, indeed.

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Branding...?

Maybe it isn't a big name here, but is it big in their core markets of Japan, China and South Korea?

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Raz
Thumb Up

Re: Branding...?

Asus is the THE brand to own in motherboards :) And it was, basically, in the last 15 years.

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Nice

As ideas go, this actually makes a lot of sense, assuming a sensible pricing strategy. If the "pad" is the same price as a normal one then it's going to tank the whole idea really.

Of course, if you get a call while the phone is inside the tablet it could get interesting.

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jai
Silver badge

so.....

if I get a phone call from the office, while on a crowded commuter train using it as a laptop, asking for details about the spreadsheet I'm working on, do I have to choose between shouting loudly at the laptop's microphone, or ejecting the phone and being unable to see the data I was working on?

There are some devices where convergence isn't a benefit, and a laptop and a phone is one of those cases. It's like merging a bed and an oven. I'd like to have the functionality of both in my home, and I use both regularly, but I don't want them combined into a single piece of furniture in my kitchen because I use both for entirely separate purposes, often at the same time.

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Thumb Up

Re: so.....

This would be where headset (wired or bluetooth) would be useful.

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jai
Silver badge

Re: Re: so.....

not just useful, essential

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Go

Pen headset

Actually they've thought of that - the capacitive stylus doubles as a bluetooth headset!

Pic here of the Asus CEO demoing it:

http://www.theverge.com/2012/2/27/2827554/asus-padfone-mwc-announcement-gallery#3057493

Somewhere between genius and insanity. I'm not sure which.

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Angel

Re: Pen headset

"Somewhere between genius and insanity. I'm not sure which."

Me neither. However, best place for a new idea to be. Take a risk and something good *might* come from it.

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Re: Pen headset

"The distance between genius and insanity is measured only by success."

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Thumb Up

Re: Pen headset

Now that is smart!

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I like this.

As has been said already by Mondo [magnificence unknown to me] it would be a huge disaster if you were sat somewhere using the thing as a netbook and someone snatched it and ran off... leaving you with no phone to call anyone and start doing anything about said theft.

But apart from that one thing, i think this is brilliant. Its a decent spec phone, a decent spec tablet and has an optional keyboard if you're that way inclined. I could use this a lot.

I dont want to carry a computer around all the time, but sometimes do want a screen bigger than my phone. So a tablet option in a bag for those times is ok. Or, leave the tablet bit in the car for lunch breaks. The keyboard can stay at home. My other half has to type up stuff for work quite a lot and wouldnt like a tablet on-screen keyboard for that - so when at home it can work as a netbook.

Flexibility. I like flexibility.

Now, if they'd make a monitor of a decent size with a dock for it too for movie playback ... and let a bluetooth keyboard work with it so it could be like a desktop instead of a netbook ... that'd pretty much do it for me.

If this phone is a sensible price and the tablet dock isnt ridiculously expensive i will seriously consider this.

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Re: I like this.

HDMI out is increasingly common on phones. Hopefully the docking connector will be the same on the phone and the tablet so you can dock the phone and then use HDMI....

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Erm, what is the point, exactly? You lose the ability to (conveniently) use your phone while it's docked, and in this age of cloud services, surely it would be better to sync everything automatically so you don't need to physically bolt devices together? Weird...

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cheaper

£350 phone + £400 tablet + £250 netbook = £1,000 for three devices.

vs

£400 phone + £100 tablet dock + £100 keyboard dock = £600 for one device to do three jobs.

For that saving of £400 you could, if you wanted, still buy a decent laptop or tablet for the kids or other half to use while the pad is in use..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: cheaper

Except the tablet dock will not be £100...

That's not even the cost of the display, let alone the whole thing.

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Re: Re: cheaper

No, but you get the general idea of what i'm saying. Chances are it will be a £550 phone/tablet combo.

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Anonymous Coward

My main issue is this means I have to replace my phone and tablet at the same time. I can't sell - or pass on - my phone or tablet separately and buy e.g. a newer model, I must replace both at the same time.

The only way this would work for me was if there was a standard way of connecting so I could buy another smartphone - even from other brands - and it would still work with the tablet side of things.

The price is never going to be that great anyway, most of the cost of tablets is precisely on the display and battery. The electronics they manage to reuse from the phone only account for about 30% of the cost.

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Gold badge

Exactly right. It seems standards are slipping. It's taken decades to get a standard power connector in the EU for phones.

We could be doing clever things with Bluetooth, except that Bluetooth sucks which is why you still see people holding phones when driving despite it being illegal.

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Nev
Stop

Bluetooth works fine for handsfree in cars...

The real reason you see people holding their phones whilst driving is because they are arseholes.

(With little regard for the law or other road users that they may collide with.)

Or perhaps they frittered their company car allowance on other more vital options like an AMG, S-Line or M-Sport styling pack.

Stop: Because they may even miss seeing that if they're texting too.

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Raz

Re: Bluetooth works fine for handsfree in cars...

The act of talking on the phone is the distraction, not holding the phone. I can (and mostly do) drive with one hand only. I have an automatic.

That being said, I have a BT device as well, that I am using while driving, cause it's the law.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Bluetooth works fine for handsfree in cars...

Act of talking on the phone is as distracting as having a passenger - as long as your eyes are on the road and mitts on the wheel it's all right.

I don't use BT on my phone - I like the wired headset better. But, unless the traffic is jammed I don't answer my phone while driving too.

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Gold badge

Such integrated devices can be useful but also are a dream for the company making them. It means the purchaser has to buy a phone, tablet and keyboard/dock from the same company for it all to work.

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Anonymous Coward

In the good old Reg spirit of citing vaguely appropriate prior art...

PowerBook DuoDock!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In the good old Reg spirit of citing vaguely appropriate prior art...

Nice :-)

But for real prior art of the whole concept - phone, tablet and keyboard - there's the AlwaysInnovating Smart Book (Jan 2011)

https://www.alwaysinnovating.com/products/smartbook.htm

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Not bad

Ive been waiting for this. Why have a phone when i have a tablet. Why have a tablet when i have a smart phone. Why have a laptop when i have a.....you get the idea. Hopefully rev 2 will have a small compartment for credit cards and ID's.

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Silver badge

Re: Not bad

...and a small cryogenic chamber for DNA samples....

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Pint

A great idea in my opinion, and really interesting to see all of the different opinions coming out about what makes sensible technologies for convergence.

For my requirements, this is a great plan, and something I've been looking for for around 18 months. However I'm looking for an MS platform, so it can run family safety and protect my delightful little monsters from the nasties out there.

It is a shame that it's not using the newer multicore tegra chipset, but I'm in the market for a new phone, I don't have a tablet yet so it could still be game on.

I would be interested to see how storage and expansion is referenced, on the tablet, and on the netbook accessories, as well as power use and configuration. (netbook charges the tablet, which charges the phone up, so even if you don't use the additional tablet or netbook for much else, you know that you can always have a full battery when you are away from ordinary power sources for an extended period of time.

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Silver badge
Pint

Touchbook?

Once again, the big brands catch up with the real innovators...

Always Innovating has been touting much the same thing since... well, at least a year.

Althogh their phone is not really a phone (not their drill, and a lack in the patent department perhaps).

http://alwaysinnovating.com/products/smartbook.htm

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Touchbook?

Touting the same thing is one, actually shipping a product is different. See http://alwaysinnovating.com/shop/

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Anonymous Coward

But ...

Does the phone have an easily removable storage device that you can take out and put into another phone in a tablet in a docking station?

And can you dock/undock it while taking a call and playing Crysis?

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Silver badge
Happy

ASUS - rugged as a Rubber Ball

ASUS had a real sweet deal on Eee PC Netbooks and in my experience I have never seen computers take so much abuse,and come out smiling.

I have one on my motorcycle, actually under the seat, company vehicles have hem in glove compartments. etc.

The one I gave my wife lives in the kitchen, in the main, and that one has been dropped on the floor at least 19 times now and the only damage sustained was that the clips holding the bottom cover on popped - simply a matter of squeezing together.

If for nothing else, I shall be looking at one of these combo units for my daughter - ASUS builds things tough.

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Thumb Up

it may not work

But at least it's one less "method" the fruit boys can patent.

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Joke

Is this the new flip phone?

I remember old StartTAC's being big, but this is even better.

But a 10 inch screen should be legible enough for a phone.

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