ASUS Combines Smartphones and Tablets With The Padfone

Considering the relative success ASUS has already seen in the tablet space it’s no surprise they want to keep them coming. The EeePad Transformer, according to them, is selling pretty well and they recently revealed another impressive Android tablet… err phone… no, tablet phone… Oh yea, it’s the Padfone.

What if we could take our tiny smartphone screen and blow it up to 10.1-inches whenever we wanted? We’d never have to squint again and when our phone rings we could just squish it back down to handheld size and answer the call. See where ASUS is going with this?

Rather than going out and spending money on a smartphone and a tablet, ASUS is going to combine the two… sorta. The smartphone will be just like any other Android handset we’ve seen before. What separates the Padfone from the competition isn’t the handheld itself, but the dock. In essence, the “Pad” aspect of the Padfone is just a 10.1-inch touch screen USB monitor with a battery shoved in it.

The phone provides all the computing power and a 3G connection for access to the web. Toss it in the back of the Padfone tablet-dock and your ready to go. The phone connects to a mini-HDMI and mini-USB at the same time, then you close the lid, completely hiding the handset it from view.

Details were absent regarding which version of Android will be running on the Padfone, but speculation is already swirling the web with “Ice Cream Sandwich” in the eye of the storm. It is definitely a possibility — ASUS says the Padfone’s interface will automatically adjust to better suit the larger screen size when it is docked and Google has already told us Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) would not be coming to smartphones. If you check out the promo video on the Padfone site you’ll see the same navigation bar we were introduced to in Honeycomb. But, if Honeycomb isn’t coming to smartphones (where the “brains” of this device will be located) than we can only move forward, right?

No pricing or availability was announced so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens over the coming months. As far as Ice Cream Sandwich goes, Google’s Eric Schmidt will be talking at the D9 Conference later today — fingers crossed we’ll learn something there.

Samsung responds to iPad 2 with ‘The World’s Thinnest Mobile Tablets’

Earlier this month Apple revealed their follow up to the iPad, cleverly named the iPad 2. When Samsung saw it they were a little put back and decided to take their upcoming Galaxy Tab 10.1 back to the drawing board. Now, they have revealed the new tablet and it’s got a little brother, the Galaxy Tab 8.9.

The new Galaxy Tabs both run Android 3,0 (Honeycomb), sport front and rear facing cameras, a micro SD card slot and an HD display. They both feature a 1GHz dual-core processor, gyroscope and accelerometer, Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth. On top of that, Samsung claims they are “the world’s thinnest mobile tablets” both coming in at a measly 8.6mm thick and thinner than the iPad 2.

Both models will also come with Samsung’s TouchWiz UX, a new user interface laid on top of the Android 3.0 operating system “offering superior multi-tasking and enhanced user interaction and navigation.” That’s not the only feature Samsung added to Honeycomb, both devices will feature their Reader’s Hub and Music Hub, offering users tons of music, books and magazines via download. Social networking diehards will have the Social Hub at their disposal, “which will aggregate email, instant messaging, contacts, calendar and social network connections into a single interface.”

What’s really exciting about the reveal is the competitive pricing Samsung announced. Apple revealed their iPad 2 with the same pricing model as the original and Samsung is right on their heels. The 16GB 10.1″ model will hit shelves for $499! That’s the same price you’ll pay for a Wi-Fi only 16GB iPad 2! The 16GB 8.9″ model takes it a step further coming in at $469! Not bad Samsung, it looks like you’ve got some real contenders here. There will also be 32GB models available at launch for $599 and $569 respectively.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will officially hit shelves on June 8th. Unfortunately, Samsung wasn’t as specific about the release date of the 8.9″ model, only saying the smaller version would be available “early this summer.” That’s pretty vague but, early this summer could very well mean June, right? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.