Attempting to shore up the weaknesses of previous hybrid devices like the Dell Streak or more recently the Samsung Galaxy Note (who has had its retail price sharply reduced of late), ASUS has come up with a new hybrid concept that attempts to marry not two, but three mobile genres: the smartphone, the tablet, and the notebook.
While initially one might roll their eyes at such an announcement, with visions of some sort of mobile Frankenstein coming to mind, ASUS has circumvented the extant issues for previous hybrid devices by taking, in the words TechNewsWorld writer John P. Mello Jr, a “Russian-dolls approach to mobile devices.”
Rather than trying to incorporate the features of a smartphone and a tablet into one middling version of either, ASUS has created a suite of devices designed to seamlessly sync together into one complete package, offering a smartphone that connects to a tablet, which in turn connects to a keyboard for full notebook capability.
The only problem, due to delays in bringing the product to market, the door may have already closed on ASUS, meaning that even this hybrid hybrid design will likely fall flat.
As mentioned, the new ASUS hybrid, dubbed the PadFone, consists of three components, a smartphone running Android 4.0, a 10.3 inch tablet, and a keyboard dock. The phone slips into the back of the tablet and the tablet connects to the keyboard to form a fully functional notebook, offering users whatever mobile platform they need to get the job done.
Initially there seems to be several benefits to such an all-encompassing device. Having both a smartphone and a tablet as part of the same unit means that you won’t need a separate data plan for each device and you won’t have the issue of data stored on one device but not another.
While such a comprehensive approach to solving the smartphone/tablet contract woes would certainly have been relevant six months ago, the same cannot be said for today. My point being, with upgrades to cloud technology and the recent introduction of shared data plans, the need to have one comprehensive device package has all but disappeared, meaning that the ASUS PadFone has arrived to the dance only to find the lights off and the doors locked tight.
That said, the market has long been clamouring for this sort of modular approach to the extant problem of managing multiple devices, and the fact that ASUS has managed to consolidate all one’s on-the-fly data management needs into one comprehensive package may still appeal to some.
What may not appeal to some is the intial price of this comprehensive device, the PadFone set to retail online for $940, a steep price for an investment that the market may have already surpassed.
That said, however, the company is quick to point out that purchasing the nesting doll-like PadFone is certainly cheaper than purchasing all three components separately, which leads me to conservatively say that for the first time we have seen a hybrid device that actually delivers what it promises, the full functionality of multiple devices on one comprehensive platform…to bad cloud storage and shared data make it practically obsolete.