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If you can’t beat ‘em, get crazy with ‘em -- that seems to be the philosophy of ASUS, the maker of inexpensive netbooks and now iPad-challenging tablets such as the sold-out everywhere Eee Pad Transformer. On Monday, the company announced their craziest tablet product yet.
Engadget is reporting that Taiwanese consumer electronics maker ASUSTek wants to rock your world by offering the world’s first smartphone that’s also a tablet. The image you see above is not some mutant tablet run amok consuming smartphones, but rather the ASUS Padfone, a 4.3-inch smartphone that docks inside a 10.1-inch tablet (note that these specs have not been finalized yet by the company). Yes, you’re reading that correctly.
Introduced as Computex on Monday, the Padfone is an Android-based smartphone capable of docking inside a tablet that is otherwise just a lump of glass and plastic until the two are merged -- although the tablet does extend the battery life of the smartphone since it has its own cell, and of course it offers a super-sized display with speakers and even an I/O extender.
This crazy idea begs the question, what kind of Android software will the Padfone eventually ship with when it starts rolling out in time for the Christmas 2011 holiday season? Honeycomb 3.0 is a tablet-only affair and any prior version simply won’t do. ASUS isn’t saying, but the implication seems to be that the Padfone will come packing the next Android version code-named “Ice Cream Sandwich,” which was demoed at the recent Google I/O event and finally units the smartphone and tablet hardware.
ASUS has had some recent success with the Eee Pad Transformer, a tablet capable of docking into an optional keyboard case, with the tablet selling out everywhere at the bargain price of $399 -- although many retailers are happy to offer it to you for $50 or even $100 over retail, if you just gotta have one.
It’s much too early to start throwing around price and availability, but in the meantime you can check out the Engadget hands-on from Computex in the embedded video below and judge for yourself. Um… your move, Apple?
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image and video courtesy of Engadget)