Asus Padfone coming in February, 7 inch Transformer in the works?

Asus Padfone

The Asus Padfone is modular device that combines an Android smartphone with a 4.3 inch display and a tablet shell with a 10 inch screen. The phone actually acts as the brains of the tablet — but the tablet dock allows you to use a larger display than you would get with the phone alone. That leads to a better reading, web surfing, gaming, or video watching experience.

Asus had already promised that the Padfone would hit the streets in early 2012, and now DigiTimes is offering a slightly more precise date: February, 2012.

The PadFone is expected to launch with Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That makes sense, since it’s the first version of Android designed to run on either a phone or tablet — which means that the user experience will be nearly the same on the phone or the tablet.

There’s no word on how much the PadFone will cost, or if you’ll be able to buy the phone separately from the tablet.

Asus Padfone

Asus is expected to launch several Android tablets early next year — and DigiTimes suggests that one of them could be a smaller version of the Eee Pad Transformer.

The current Transformer and the upcoming Transformer Prime both feature 10 inch displays and optional keyboard docking stations that let you use the tablet like a laptop. DigiTimes reports that Asus may be working on a new 7 inch model.

While 7 inch tablets offer certain benefits over their larger 10 inch cousins since they’re lighter and easier to hold, I’m not convinced a 7 inch Transformer is a great idea. It’s hard to find a laptop with a 7 inch display and a comfortable keyboard — usually the keys are small and packed too closely together. I doubt a keyboard dock for a 7 inch Transformer tablet would fare much better.

On the other hand this news is just a rumor for now — and it’s just as likely that Asus may be developing a standalone tablet with a 7 inch screen and no keyboard accessory at all. We probably won’t know for certain until next year. I suspect Asus will unveil its plans for the first half of 2012 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

  • Bruce

    I would be very interested in a 7 inch Transformer from ASUS. The small keyboard size could be a handicap, yet it could still be a significant improvement over typing on the screen. ASUS could go with some kind of fold out or slide out arrangement to increase the keyboard size, but that adds weight and thickness to the package when it is closed up.

  • darrell staley

    I would like to see a 7 inch transformer fit the dock for the 10 inch.  Not having the current transformer I don’t even know if this would be possible, but maybe it would with an adapter.  With this arrangement, we would have a very usable keyboard for the 7 incher, and people owning both Transformers would only need one keyboard.

  • Anonymous

    In theory I love this concept, but I am skeptical, as it will probably be very expensive or other issues that make it impractical for me. Kind of like the atrix + dock of this year which didn’t work out so well.

  • Anonymous

    I am very interested in the Padfone but what makes me fearful is the price and if there will be a CDMA variant. I am also scared that once the USA companies get their grubby mits on it that they will price it out of usefulness like the Atrix (2x data plans to use a screen and keyboard). If Asus can shoot for $400-$500 off contract for both the phone and the dock then they have my money in the bag. Otherwise it is the cheapest android phone my carrier has/the Asus Transformer Prime update.

  • Bartbe

    I would be very interested in a Padfone. It would be great if Asus combined it with the Transformer keyboard as a peripherial. Imagine, battery in Fone, in Pad, in keyboard and you are free from socket in the wall for 24hrs ;-)

  • Josenonya

    I hope this does well so the carriers quit trying to double ding us for phone and tablet.  I can’t take my SIM card from my phone to my tablet which is BS.  Why would I want to pay for 2 services? And I refuse.  
    I’d be very cautious about something like this living in a Hot climate.  I see it overheating big time. However, as I was saying this needs be successful so the carriers quit trying get us to buy 2 plans.  I’ll never do it ever!  I’ll tether, only use it wifi anything but get another plan.