ASUS introduced its PadFone Mini nearly ten months ago, giving users who were interested in that unique PadFone trick of docking a smartphone into a larger tablet body a new, smaller option than something like the big nine-inch PadFone X: a compact seven-inch tablet paired with a four-inch phone. We saw the company bring the Mini to CES in January, and while there was talk of US pricing, no specific release plans were shared. But now we find ourselves thinking about the PadFone Mini once again, as a tipster clues us in to a possible PadFone Mini release for AT&T.
At least – it’s a device that sure resembles the PadFone Mini – both the 4.0 (above) and 4.3-inch versions. Instead of the phone dock being along the tablet’s long edge as is the case with larger PadFone models, this one shares the Mini’s same dock-on-the-short-edge, portrait-orientation-friendly design. But on closer inspection, there are some differences between this model apparently gearing up for AT&T and the two we’ve seen already launched.
The big one is that this phone swaps its capacitive buttons for on-screen elements, and beyond that we also see the hardware layout shift around a bit. It’s got a centered rear camera like on the PadFone Mini 4.0, but it also packs a flash, which we only see on the 4.3-inch version.
As such, we’re not sure if this is all-new hardware, or maybe a tweaked refresh of one of those existing Minis. We also don’t have a strong sense of any timetable here, though at least some evidence seems to point to plans for a September launch – but hinting at a date that’s already a week past, so again, we’re not quite sure what to expect here.