Earlier this year Asus showed a prototype of the Padfone, which is sort of like an iPad that ate an iPhone, and now (as reported by Engadget) it looks like it will see production. The Android-based device, essentially a tablet with an attendant smartphone that docks inside of it, will be released in early 2012.
My first reaction upon seeing the Padfone was "Cool," followed by "Wait—why?" In trying to think of actual applications for the docking trick, beyond perhaps using one device to charge the other, I'm drawing a blank. As an iPhone and iPad user, to me they are two different devices that have some overlap, but I rarely find myself carrying both of them around and performing a task on one that I suddenly feel the urge to complete on the other.
Then again, perhaps I'm not the typical user. What do you think? If you have scenarios in mind where this smartphone-nested-in-a-tablet configuration would be useful, please let us know in the comments; we're genuinely curious.
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And then, you get a phone call.
This is one of those generic concepts that has been floating around ever since the iPad was a rumor - probably since the iPhone was a rumor - on YankoDesign and probably here too. Sure, there are a couple supposed advantages, but in the end, where is the usability? Teathering can be done wirelessly, and as processors become twice as powerful every year and a half tablets will soon be doing fairly heavy lifting in a few short product cycles. App sharing is now in the cloud, so why not just use that space for actual battery, not just the remote off chance I'll put my phone in there.
Try again Asus.
ASUS is also making the Eee Pad Slider, the Eee Pad Transformer, and the Eee Note. ANd that's only what I could find on their website. I couldn't even find this smartphone (and they make others. Yeah, the ASUS-Garmin Nuvi phone was ranked one of the worst phones http://www.fiercewireless.com/slideshow/worst-phones-all-time?img=1 but maybe they've learned something since then)
So ASUS is at least taking risks by making a bunch of novel devices and seeing what sticks.
Yeah, it's not Apple's focused strategy of making only one killer product, but at least ASUS still has the courage to introduce risky products to the marketplace.
Padfone is just ahead of its time.
This isn't a tablet that you dock a phone into. This is a screen that you dock to a phone.
I like the way Asus ideas.
It seems to me like this is an idea that's a bit ahead of its time. We don't have smartphones that justify this concept yet. We will, but we don't have them now. This is just the lowest cost version of what we can have today rather than the reasonably priced version of what we would like in a few years. Maybe down the road a device with wireless tethering and interface sharing will pair up with a smartphone with harddrive-scale storage capacities (or cloud based data storage) and laptop-scale processor performance. But this product right here is the answer to a question no one asked, and it feels to me like ASUS is jumping the gun because they're desperate to compete with Apple's market dominance.
If you can keep working on the tablet while talking on the phone, without removing the phone, this is a great idea.
For me if they could make the slot something that hugs the phone and gets rid of the door and make it work with the Transformer keyboard then it would be absolutely perfect, as of now it's only great. It uses HDMI and USB for connections so I'm also hoping that they can make it work with any phone (though none or most would currently fit the slot though the Moto phone connector setups look the same).
In the end it will come down to how well it works (I'll have to wait for review videos and such) and how good the hardware inside the phone is, but I will likely get this unless they completely do something wrong.
Why would anyone use the phone for more than a boost to the proccessing power of the tab. Even if smartphones get 10 times more powerfull than the ones we use today the tab with future technology could still easily outperform the phone. The mothership or brain theory only works if the tab was deliberately underdesigned reduced to a touchscreen storage batery device that has limited functionality without the phone
But than the whole device would underperform compared to a a true tab
The phone also takes up alot of space in the tab
1) 1 data bill - I'm not made of money
2) Synched data on pad/phone - sure apple uses the cloud for this... but personally I don't want to waste quota synching things, I also don't want all my stuff going into the cloud. Not to mention that the country i live in has expensive data and shocking reception. It'd take far too long.
3) With Ice Cream Sandwich not being far away... the OS will be good for both Pad and Phone modes
4) Need to take a call? Use a blue tooth headset... wouldn't surprise me if it included one.
5) As a commuter I have both my tablet and my phone with me at all times to and from work... being able to pull my tablet out of my bag and slot my phone into it will be awesome.
6) The tablet juices (charges) up the phone when you plug it in... if you use your phone a hell of a lot like me, you can never have enough battery :)
It's not for everyone... but just because it doesn't suit your usage case scenario doesn't mean there aren't others out there that it does :P
This is why i love android... so many choices and variations coming out of the wood work :)
Saving $350 makes perfect sense to me. You don't have to worry about sync'ing either.
The only reason I can see to nest it inside is to let the phone share the tablet power source but nesting will make the pad really thick.
The end user will have tablet and phone solution for say, est. $600 without being tied to a plan.
Tethering plans for WiFi hotspots are $480 per year.
You will have flexibility to upgrade the phone part of the solution and tablet part whenever desired at much lower cost.
The design is all about cost, no one wants an ugly bump on the back of their tablet.
I like the concept because it eliminates the need of buying two devices.
So, is it a tablet with a slot to put your phone in? or is it just a phone expansion pack with a bigger screen better sound system and many more power? (eg. the tablet does not work without the phone)
The expansion pack thing may make sense. As to how to make a phone call whilst using the pack, I'm sure there are many ways around.
Second, you will always have a consistent interface. I can't imagine how useful this would be.
I suppose your average Apple fan boy might feel the need to trash it.
That said, there have been rumors that Asus is still tweaking the design. The big problem will be Asus' lack of phone building history - can't imagine people would.accept a second rate smartphone regardless of how useful a padfone might be
But when the scenario arrives that a call comes in while docked, and no headset is handy, the user will be scrambling to pop out the phone.
I see this being more popular in Asian markets, to be honest. Probably where ASUS did their research.
Now if they have a stylus then you could have a nice wee doodle pad at your fingertips with the power of Ps. Need to send a client an image but no WiFi (or secure WiFi such as an airport) insert the phone and voila sent. Another example would be field technicians where sometimes I need to pull down manuals, but a mobile phone doesn't cut it and I end up tethering the laptop to the phone. This means all I have to do is stick the phone into a tablet instead of wondering where the hell the cable has got to and reduce the weight I have to carry.
Unfortunately, ASUS does not have the clout with carriers to dictate consumer-friendly contract terms.
I can imagine smartphones with fast processors and HUGE harddrives essentially containing ALL of your apps and files for use in some way on the go. BUT simply plug into a larger monitor or tablet for a larger screen or for doing larger work with FULL version apps like CAD and Adobe, etc.
The phone would actually be the mother ship and everything else is a peripheral.
Allrighty then.. design thinking you say, must be smart then... you just know they're desperate to convince you it makes sense when they try to convince you with marketing talk like that. Who cares about the process behind it? It doesn't make sense, and proper design thinking would not end with this non-sense as a conclusion...
Honestly. It's a tablet that no-one can use while you're on your phone (if I get it right the thing doesn't work without the phone).
I wouldn't say it is for everyone but with an extra internal battery and perhaps some USB ports or similar I can see this being a neat combo.
This is a much more fair solution to the end user and puts a finger in the eye of these greedy carriers pricing strategies.