By Brandon Miniman | June 1, 2011 2:12 PM
What on the surface seems like a complete novelty that is bound to see limited market acceptance might actually turn out to be one of the most innovative mobile devices in recent years, except that few are going to buy it. The ASUS PadFone solves a problem that you didn’t know you have. If you’re reading this site, you probably have a smartphone, plus a tablet. The information on your tablet is different than on your phone, even if both of your devices are running the same operating system (Android or iOS). Apps are different, contacts might not be the same, photos aren’t synced across both devices, and so on.
What if your smartphone could be your tablet? That’s the premise behind the ASUS PadFone. Think about it: the benefit of having a tablet is that you can interact with a large, touch display. It’s better for reading and sharing than on a smartphone, and, thanks to tablet-friendly apps, you often get more functionality in the tablet version of a given application. What if your smartphone could serve both purposes? When your phone becomes your tablet, you always have a full charge (thanks to the added battery within the tablet), your information never needs to be synced, you can even accept phone calls/send text messages/listen to voicemail through your tablet.
Of course, an idea is only as good as the execution. ASUS isn’t exactly known for ground-breaking, high-quality hardware. In fact, they’ve been especially absent from the mobile device space in the last few years. Our best guess is that the PadFone will get praise as a fantastic concept, but it’ll be highly criticed for poor execution. The PadFone reminds us of the Kyocera Echo: it’s a cool concept, but the hardware features low build quality, and the software is slow. Kyocera wanted to make a splash by entering a market with a different product, which they did, but no one is going to buy a device saddled by poor build quality and buggy software. The same will probably be true with ASUS, they we hope they prove us wrong. We’d love to see HTC, Samsung, or Motorola come to market with a hybrid combination like this.
What do you think about the ASUS PadFone? Are you going to buy one, or perhaps wait for the next-generation of hybrid devices to come around?