BARCELONA, Spain--Asus struck a high note when it introduced the one-of-a-kind Transformer Prime last year, but that device was only the beginning.
Today at Mobile World Congress, Asus finally released its long-awaited Padfone. Though the device first made an appearance last May in a promotional video, sightings of the actual device have been rare. And after skipping an official unveiling at CES last month, speculation mounted that Asus would use Barcelona as the stage instead.
At its most basic level, the Padfone is a candy bar Android smartphone with high-end, though hardly revolutionary, specs. You'll find a 4.3-inch AMOLED display, a Qualcomm dual-core processor, messaging and e-mail, Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, an 8-megapixl camera, a second VGA shooter around front, and a media player.
The Padfone's story, however, isn't about what the phone can do, but about what you can do with the phone. Building where Motorola's laptop dock left off, the Padfone can slide into the Asus Padstation to become a 10.1-inch tablet. Everything that you can do on the phone, from browsing the Web, to playing media, to using apps, you now can do in tablet form. You can even make calls using the integrated speakerphone or a Bluetooth headset (you'd look pretty silly carrying a tablet next to your ear).
But the Padfone doesn't stop there. You can also turn the tablet into a small notebook by attaching the Asus Station Dock keyboard. Like with the Transfomer Prime, the keyboard will snap onto the bottom of the tablet for your typing needs.
For a closer look (I don't blame you if you're scratching your head as to how it all works), check out CNET Asia's hands-on photos. Our sister site in Singapore got an exclusive look at the Padfone a few days before traveling to Barcelona so be sure to check out Aloysius Low's First Take of the device.
We'll bring you more pricing and availability details when we have them.