ASUS intros PadFone Infinity with 5-inch 1080p display, 7-inch Fonepad tabletAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
Mobile World Congress 2013 continues on this morning, and this time it's ASUS that's leading the march. ASUS is currently holding its MWC press event, and the company just took the wraps off of some new Android-powered pad products. First up is the PadFone Infinity, a new member of ASUS's PadFone family that already consists of the original PadFone and the recently-released PadFone 2. Just like the Transformer Infinity before it, the PadFone Infinity boasts the highest-end specs of its family of products, packing a 5-inch 1080p handset that can dock into a 10.1-inch 1080p Infinity Station tablet.
Buried inside the PadFone Infinity is a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, which is one of the new chips that Qualcomm announced last month at CES. There's also 2GB RAM, 64GB storage, LTE and DC-HSPA+ connectivity, NFC and a 2,400mAh battery packed into the PadFone Infinity's frame. The Infinity Station has a battery of its own that ASUS says can recharge the PadFone Infinity up to three times. When it comes time to take some photos, the PadFone Infinity owners will be able to do so with either the unit's 13-megapixel rear camera or the 2-megapixel shooter on its face. And as I noted before, the PadFone Infinity is powered by Android, specifically the 4.2 flavor of Jelly Bean.
Along with its new PadFone, ASUS also introduced a new tablet device today. Dubbed the Fonepad, it's kind of the opposite of the Padfone in that instead of being a phone that can dock into a tablet, it's a small tablet that can double as a phone thanks to its built-in 3G HSPA+ connectivity. Another of the Fonepad's main features is its processor, which is an Intel-made 1.2GHz Atom Z2420 processor. Rounding out the Fonepad's spec sheet is 16GB of built-in storage, a microSD slot, 1GB RAM, a 3-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. Expect the Fonepad to launch with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Of course, the most important details about any new product relate to availability, and thankfully ASUS shared some details for both products. The PadFone Infinity will hit Taiwan in April and expand to other countries in Q2 2013 with a suggested price of €999 (around $1325 U.S. dollars). Meanwhile, the Fonepad will arrive in March with a price tag of €219 (around $289 U.S. dollars). So far there's been no word on a U.S. release for either of ASUS's new devices.
With the Padfone family, ASUS appears to be repeating what it's done before with its Transformer line. Just like we got the original Transformer followed by the Transformer Prime and then the Transformer Pad Infinity, we've not got the PadFone, PadFone 2 and PadFone Infinity. This new PadFone model is certainly the highest-end model yet, and now ASUS has joined several other Android manufacturers in offering a smartphone with a 5-inch 1080p display. It may seem a tad pricey, but the PadFone Infinity could be an option worth considering for consumers that are in the hunt for both a new smartphone and a new tablet.
Meanwhile, the Fonepad seems similar to Samsung's recently-announced Galaxy Note 8.0 in that it's a small device that can serve double duty as both a phone and a tablet. That makes the Fonepad ideal for someone that wants to lighten their load and have an all-in-one device that can replace both their smartphone and their tablet. The Fonepad may not have the most bleeding edge specs, but its ability to make phone calls and its $249 price tag certainly make up for that. Would any of you be interested in the Fonepad if it ever makes its way onto the shelves of U.S. stores?