Jun 1, 2011
Asus, and its enthusiastic chairman Jonney Shih took the stage at Computex 2011 in Taiwan this week to announce a new Android tablet with a twist – it’s actually a phone inside of a tablet dock. Or, as Mr. Shih puts it, in the newest video that’s sweeping the web, “Is it a pad? Is it a phone in a pad? It’s Padfone!” Watch the announcement at Computex below.
While the video is kind of silly, and the internet seems to be getting its chuckles out of it, the possibilities for the Padfone are actually kind of intriguing. Imagine carrying the phone around, checking emails, playing games on it while on the go, then returning home or to the office to use it to watch videos on the bigger screen, or type out emails on a larger keyboard. There’s something that seems silly about the concept at first, and the potential success of the Padfone may be based on if Asus can get it out to all the carriers, and if the ‘Pad’ part of the Padfone is affordable. Price, along with mediocre quality, is what killed the Motorola Atrix 4G’s laptop dock from being a success. Also, it’s likely that if Apple were to announce a similar tablet dock for the iPhone and iPod touch, it would likely be well-received by the same people who are getting their chuckles at the Padfone’s concept.
The price issue will be tricky, though – Apple’s advantage with the iPad pricewise is that they use many of the same internals for the iPad as they do in the iPod touch and iPhone, especially the processors; this allows them to lower prices where other manufacturers may struggle to do so, which has made it difficult for Android tablet makers to compete. Independent large-screen docks like the Padfone, and the TransPhone from CMIT which was also announced at Computex may suffer from a lack of widespread adoption; perhaps a standardized tablet dock protocol would be more successful and help push the Android tablet market along if people could transition their phones over to tablets. Or perhaps the Android tablet market will start to explode later on in the year, especially as Christmas nears. The Padfone is expected later this year, and will likely be running Android 3.1, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. More details as they emerge.