In its annual tradition at MWC, ASUS held a press conference off-site to introduce some of its mobile devices. The introductions are always interesting and typically unique in the marketplace. This year was no different. 

To kick things off, ASUS introduced the Fonepad: a 7-inch Android 4.1.2 tablet that also serves as a phone. Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 8.0 earlier this week with a similar capability. While I don't expect many folks to want to hold a 7-inch tablet up to their face, having the ability to combine both tablet and smartphone functionality into one can be tempting. I can see the Fonepad being compelling if you don't make calls all that often but would rather carry a small tablet than a large smartphone, or if you are fine using a Bluetooth headset. 

The device is pretty much a Nexus 7 but with a nice metal back. The dimensions are near identical to the Nexus 7 at 196.4mm x 120.1mm x 10.4mm with a weight of 340 grams. The display resolution remains 1280 x 800 and the IPS panel is LED backlit.

In a curious change of pace, ASUS integrated Intel's Atom Z2420 SoC (single-core + HT, 1.2GHz 32nm, PowerVR SGX 540). I'm curious to see how the single core, low-clocked Atom SoC does compared to Tegra 3 in a tablet. Driving all phone functionality is Intel's XMM 6265 baseband, with support for 850/900/1900/2100MHz WCDMA and 850/900/1800/1900MHz EDGE/GSM bands. There's support for 802.11b/g/n and BT 3.0.

The Fonepad features 1GB of LPDDR2 memory and 16GB of NAND on-board, with a microSD slot for additional storage expansion (a notable absence from the Nexus 7). There's an integrated 16Wh battery (like in the N7) and the device will be available in titanium gray and champagne gold (like the Transformer Prime).

The big selling point of the Fonepad is its price: $249. That's a pretty impressive deal for a full featured smartphone and 7-inch tablet in one. It's a bit of a quirky product, but I can definitely see the Fonepad filling a niche.

Next up is the ASUS PadFone Infinity. For those of you who aren't familiar with the PadFone concept, it's pretty simple. Take a phone that can dock into and power a tablet display and you have PadFone. The tablet part is strictly a display + battery, all compute and connectivity is driven by the phone element.

The PadFone Infinity takes a 5-inch 1080p Snapdragon 600 based smartphone running Android 4.2 and pairs it with a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 tablet dock (the PadFone Infinity Station). The phone weighs 141g and features an integrated 2400mAh battery, while the tablet dock weighs 530g and comes with a 5000mAh battery.

The phone integrates 2GB of LPDDR2-1066, and will come in both 32GB and 64GB versions. ASUS claims support for 802.11b/g/n and 802.11ac with WiFi Direct, BT 4.0 and NFC. Thanks to Qualcomm's baseband, there's full DC-HSPA+ and UE category 3 LTE support. 

The PadFone features a 13MP rear facing camera with f/2.0 aperture lens and a 2MP front facing camera. When in tablet mode, the rear camera remains unimpeded while the front camera is replaced with a 1MP module.

Video out is supported via a Mobility DisplayPort interface (MyDP) that runs over the standard micro-USB port on the PadFone.

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  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, March 4, 2013 - link

    On the contrary it is rude for the losers to be blabbing out just their end of the conversation in public, as if no one else existed, except all those around them they certainly believe are dying to hear what they have to say, presumably to someone at the other end of the signal.

    If they go speakerphone, at least one has the chance to hear the entire conversation, and with that, the added advantage of invading their privacy too.
  • amdwilliam1985 - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    I definitely would consider it and have it replace both of my N7 and SGS3. I already carry both devices almost all the time already, why not cut down the expense(only $250) and the hassle of carrying 2 devices.
    I make on average about 1 call a week, so carrying a phone and a tablet makes less sense to me. On the other hand, my Nexus 7 is great for movies, games and readings. I text and email with my friends. If I can teach my parents to text and/or email then I'll get rid of the phone and live on wifi only to save the monthly bill.

    Just curious, why do you think 7" phone is too big? Did you come up with that all by yourself or did Apple helped you? No way I'm letting some company or Lord Steve J tell me how to use my devices.
    Ha ha ha...

    ps: I have my eyes set on the rumor 6.3" Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
  • amdwilliam1985 - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    Sorry if I sounded pissed at the OP.
    My point being, everyone is different. What you saw unnecessary might strike gold for someone else. Don't let your limited mindset limits your options.
    I never like the idea of one solution fits all, major reason why I'm not touching iphone & ipad anymore, don't feel like using the same device that everyone else and their grand parents uses.

    "Don't ever let anyone tell you what you can and can't do in life, this is America!"
  • amdwilliam1985 - Monday, March 11, 2013 - link

    I know man, totally agree with you Zak.
    Lord Steve J forbids huge phones and tiny tablets. Therefore we should all stick with 3.5 iTiny and ~10 iHuge. 1 perfect size to rule them all, well maybe more perfect sizes now with Lord Tim Crook.

    On the other hand, in the USA, you know where the land is free, crazy loonies are defying our lords. How dare they use 7" phones, how dare they make 5" tablet. This is absurd, this is the end of the world. At least not in the apple land ;)

    /s chill man, I don't need to make fun of your iTiny so you can give me the freedom to use whatever size phone/tablet I like ;)
  • Kidster3001 - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    This is the form factor I have been wanting for 3 years now. Finally!!! Samsung too. Too bad they probably won't be released in the US with Phone capability. That means Verizon customers are totally out.
  • Araemo - Monday, February 25, 2013 - link

    I knew ASUS couldn't make a product that good with no weird downsides.

    Why is the tablet dock's front-facing camera worse than the built-in one? Wouldn't videoconferencing make more sense with the bigger tablet screen? But then you have to use a much worse camera? Makes no sense to me. Especially since the tablet dock probably has significantly more space for a good camera module.
  • SilthDraeth - Monday, February 25, 2013 - link

    1mp should be fine for video conferencing. Considering most the time, when video streaming, considering no one is usually streaming resolutions higher than what a 1MP camera can put out.
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    1 or 2 MP doesn't matter for front facing cameras as long as they're super cheap.
  • HOSH - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    It is nice they released the padfone infinity that fixed the short comings of the padfone 2 with Super IPS and high resolution screen on the phone and the pad.

    Only two items that I can see missing:
    The US release wither it is only sold as an unlocked phone on all carriers or just as a developer device for all carriers. VZW, Sprint, AT&T and T-mobile being the top 4 carriers to start with.
    They do not have a keyboard dock or attachment and no add-on memory chip (maybe just in the keyboard dock) to make it a truly mobile office setup.

    And just for some wishful thinking if they could work with Ubuntu to release the new version of Ubuntu on this device I could see it being a full mobile office experience on you hip with a couple accessories the size of a large thin day planner.

    Price is what I was expecting to see, unfortunately it is a little high. $650 phone + $350 for pad + $150 for keyboard would have been more like it though instead of the ~$1200 MSRP.
  • flyingpants - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    $350 for an accessory that can be used with ONE phone is outrageous. $400 buys a Nexus 10 tablet, higher resolution..

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