Asus shows new tablets, PadFone

The Mobile World Congress is on in Barcelona, Spain right now, and Asus is using the event to show off some new additions to its lineup. Let's start with the tablets, which include the Transformer Pad Infinity Series. We caught our first glimpse of this puppy at CES last month, back when it was called the Transformer Prime TF700. The tablet's gorgeous 1920x1200 SuperIPS+ display remains, and there will be two models based on different hardware configurations.

Nvidia supplies the Tegra 3 SoC inside the Wi-Fi version of the Infinity Series. Asus' spec sheet says the chip runs as fast as 1.6GHz, a 200MHz bump over the Transformer Prime's maximum speed. A second version of the Infinity will be available with 4G LTE connectivity and a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Krait processor. The Qualcomm chip is a dual-core design with a 1.5GHz clock speed, while the Tegra 3 has four cores plus a fifth "companion" core designated for low-power operation. It's unclear how the Tegra's integrated GeForce stacks up against the Snapdragon's Adreno GPU, whose lineage can be traced back to AMD's Imageon SoCs.

The Infinity Series is about the same thickness as the Transformer Prime, and the rest of the tablet looks very similar. Even the color options have remained the same, although Asus has added a 16GB version to fill out the bottom of the line.

Speaking of budget models, there's a new Transformer Pad 300 that looks set to replace the original TF101. This device retains the 10" 1280x800 display of the first Transformer while adding a Tegra 3 SoC—sorry, no mention of higher clock speeds this time. Otherwise, the Transformer Pad 300 looks a lot like the Prime; it has dual cameras, Android 4.0, and that all-important keyboard dock. You'll have to live with a little extra heft, though. The Transformer Pad 300 is about two millimeters thicker and 50 grams heavier than the Prime, which still makes it slimmer and lighter than Asus' first Transformer. This one will only be available in a 16GB flavor, but you'll have your choice of red, white, or blue colors.

Last, but not least, we have final specifications for the PadFone Asus teased at Computex last year. This smartphone hybrid uses an older version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 SoC, but it still has dual cores that run at up to 1.5GHz. The screen is a 4.3" unit with a 960x540 display resolution, which makes for a larger footprint than an iPhone. According to Asus, though, the PadFone is slightly thinner than the iPhone 4S and a few grams lighter. Also, it has backup:

The PadFone is designed to slip into a tablet docking station that offers a much larger 10" 1280x800 display. A 24Wh battery in the tablet provides additional juice, and there's a keyboard attachment, too.

Although we don't have information on pricing and availability, I'm rather excited about the new Transformers. The PadFone's appeal seems more limited, especially since its tablet dock is quite a bit thicker and heavier than the standalone slates. Some folks will undoubtedly dig the design, though. Kudos to Asus for doing something different. You can view more images of the PadFone and new Transformers in the image gallery below.

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