May 30, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
ASUS has an undeniable hit on its hands with the Android Honeycomb-powered Transformer tablet that can become a laptop. The company hopes to see similar success with a new phone that can become a tablet.
The ASUS PadFone is an upcoming Android phone that can become a tablet with a special accessory. Similar to how the Motorola Atrix 4G exists as an independent phone until connected to a laptop dock, the PadFone becomes an Android tablet when placed inside a special latch on a custom shell. Once inside, the PadFone switches into a special environment geared towards Android on a large screen. The case includes dual speakers to play audio, a front-facing camera, and an open window to use the phone’s rear camera.
The Padfone runs a standard Android phone operating system and then up-converts to Honeycomb when in tablet mode. ASUS has yet to share specifics because this is just a concept that it hopes to make a reality later this year. The design is also likely to be changed and improved between today and when the device launches by Christmas 2011. It seems very plausible that the PadFone may have Ice Cream Sandwich since that is the Android OS version that merges phones and Honeycomb.
Kudos to ASUS for trying something new. Mobile device conversion has proven to be an interesting trend in Android. The phone becomes a tablet, the tablet becomes a laptop, and it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that someone plans to make the tablet or laptop a television with Google TV or some other special media platform. We look forward to getting up a closer look at the PadFone to see how well it represents the growing trend.