Asus announces Padfone, three tablets at MWC

Quad-core processor is at the heart of new tablets

BARCELONA -- Asus launched the anticipated PadFone and Transformer Pad tablet line-up at Mobile World Congress on Monday.

The PadFone transforms into a 3-in-1 combo of a smartphone, tablet and notebook with the PadFone Station and PadFone Station Dock, said Asus Chairman Jonney Shih at an announcement here.

The PadFone has a 4.3-in. Super Amoled HD touchscreen and a dual-core Snapdragon S processor. The PadFone includes an 8-megapixel digital camera and runs Android 4.0.

The Asus PadFone and Transformer Pad tablet
The Transformer Pad Infinity can be used as a touchscreen tablet or with a keyboard and mouse/trackpad. A rear view of the tablet is also shown.

It is slated to ship in April, although Asus hasn't yet announced pricing.

The PadFone isn't the only device with a Station Dock. Motorola also makes a LapDock product that works with the Atrix smartphone.

The new Asus Transformer Pad line has three models: the Transfomer Pad Prime, Transformer Pad Infinity series and Transformer Pad 300 series. Asus didn't list all the specifications for all the devices, but did reveal some hardware details.

The 300 Series will run the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor and use a 10.1-in. display with 1280-by-800-pixel resolution. It will run over 4G LTE or Wi-Fi. The Transformer Pad 300 has a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat and an 8-megapixel rear camera that allows HD video recording. Battery life is expected to last 10 hours on a charge.

PadFone fits into the back of the Station Dock
The Asus PadFone fits into the back of the Station Dock

The Infinity Series focuses on entertainment with a 1920-by-1200-pixel, full HD Super IPS + display. It has support for 4G LTE with the Qualcomm MSM 8960 Snapdragon S4 Krait dual-core 1.5Ghz processor. The Wi-Fi version will also feature the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor. It has a 2-megapixel front camera for video chats and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.

The Infinity Series will come in three versions: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Wally Yang, a senior engineer at Asus, demonstrated an Infinity Series device in a booth at MWC, and noted that it will be sold as an Infinity device, even though some Asus signs in the booth described it as part of the 700 series of tablets. Some Asus enthusiasts had expected the first model to appear with the name TF 701.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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