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 1920×1200 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" 1280×800 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 960×540 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" 1280×800 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.

Comments closed
    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    supposedly the infinity is like 2 months out. hmmm…

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    So why can’t I get 4G with a tegra 3 soc, I’m son annoyed by these inconsistencies.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    what happened to that 250 dollar 7 inch tablet??? oh yeah not a real product my bad… 🙁

    • anotherengineer
    • 8 years ago

    That IPS transformer would make a nice digital photo frame!

    • LaChupacabra
    • 8 years ago

    Cool idea, but I think they have it backwards. I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with a thin device that would sync to the tablet like a headset. But instead of a regular headset make it a 3-4 inch touchscreen device that you can use to connect to the wireless antenna in your tablet (kind of like blackberry did with their pad). Drop the plan for your regular cellphone and simply use your tablet for everything. It’s not an idea for everyone (who wants to carry a tablet with them everywhere?) but I bet some people would really like it.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    pad phone is cool but price will determine success of this one.

      • designerfx
      • 8 years ago

      actually, a universal “docking” interface across phones would determine success much better. Requirements: phones having the charging ports in the same spot, etc.

      If everyone adopts the asus method or asus adopts everyone’s method, this could easily add a “tablet” accessory to every phone purchase.

        • dpaus
        • 8 years ago

        I’m not sure it needs (or if I’d even want) a physical docking. You should be able to achieve all the connectivity needed over a WiFi link, and have true universality.

          • designerfx
          • 8 years ago

          While nice in idea, the caveat with that is that it would kill the battery. You kinda need the extra battery in these other devices to assist with the longer-term use that is associated.

          Docking your phone into a desktop dock for 5 minutes doesn’t make sense in the concept of “needs more power” but leaving it there for the whole day as your work PC does.

          • mutarasector
          • 8 years ago

          Another factor to consider which favors a physical dock connection – think of the possibilities of tablet and phone combo that shares a thunderbolt link – particularly a Win 8 tablet running on Medfield talking to a docked Win 8 ARM phone.

    • trackerben
    • 8 years ago

    The Prime has ribs. That would be a nice display for a windows ultrabook… or nice graphics for an iPad… or a nice keyboard for a netbook. But it is none of these. As for the PadFone, it is an impressive mothership. But mothership computing might as well be alien computing in terms of marginal utility in my daily routine. When you have best-of-breed devices for each task at hand, a multitool is usually second-best at each..

    It would be nice if I can figure out what the PadFone does better than a Windows ultrabook, or an iPad, or a Nexus/4S/Lumia. Perhaps if docking and charging of popular smartphones is designed in, then the PadFone could be the coolest portable battery bank ever. Or iHome.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, computing from your smartphone won’t catch on until WiGig (or another standard) hits smartphones in a few years.

      Docking a phone is inherently flawed because a dock limits compatibility in the fast paced smartphone world.

      But when you can just set your phone down on an inductive charge pad and start working on your wireless keyboard and 24″+ monitor, then we’ve finally got it right.

        • trackerben
        • 8 years ago

        The thing is I already do most of that tasking in mobile situations with a bluetooth keyboard and my ipad on a portable stand. The deskbound scenario would be the sweetest experience with wireless HD. But a wired hookup would be fine since less mobile scenarios usually involve situating the main screen for greater productivity using desks and cables.

          • ImSpartacus
          • 8 years ago

          But can you fit your ipad in your pocket to wirelessly drive a dummy laptop?

            • trackerben
            • 8 years ago

            That would be the ideal. But that pervasive mobile core in your pocket is going to have a minimum of 3 high-bandwidth radios, and with current designs it’s going to run hot. My wife’s 4S on 3G+hotspot mode already causes her to complain, wireless HD like WiGig is likely to add to that. It’s more likely that in a non-outdoors scenario, that pervasive core is going to end up still untethered yet off-body on a desk, auto console, or at bedside, if my wife’s behavior is any indication.

            Remove WWAN and WLAN i/o from the scenario and the model ought to be fine for local media consumption.

        • Mourmain
        • 8 years ago

        I hate the idea of inductive chargers. There’s no good reason for them, and lots against.

          • ImSpartacus
          • 8 years ago

          The tech isn’t perfect, but in a world where you never need to plug in a sync cord, making power wireless makes more sense.

          Don’t worry, it will be a long time before we see mass inductive charging.

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    The PadFolio?

    If they make a WiLAN version, would it be the PadaWAN?

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      I see what you did there. +1

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    That Qualcomm chip is also A15-based so don’t let the raw core count cause you to think the LTE version is going to be half as fast as the Tegra 3 on the CPU side.

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      Slight correction: The Krait core is not A15 based. It’s *like* the A15, but it’s a custom and unique design by Qualcomm. That said, yeah, two 1.5GHz Krait cores will make life very difficult for Tegra 3. Plus the graphics are better on the S4. Then keep in mind the recently announced “pro” version of the chip with the newer 320 graphics to further widen the gap. Yeah, Tegra is starting to look aged already. That was quick.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah, reading again about Krait on Anandtech and I see you are correct.

          • willmore
          • 8 years ago

          No worries. Seems there are nVidia fans around here with poor reading comprehension.

          All Qualcomm ARM cores are fully custom. They have the class of license that lets them re-implement the ISA with their own logic design. Marvell has one like that as well. It’s nice in that you see more ARM devices from these companies–because they can tune a design to their needs–but it’s a real PITA to support all the odd (or mostly poorly documented) variants. 🙂

        • Mithent
        • 8 years ago

        Graphics are interesting… the Anandtech review seems to show that the S4’s GPU struggles at higher resolutions, which could mean that it’s not so good in a 1080p tablet. Tegra 3’s graphics seem to be better balanced for higher resolutions. I’m sure that the Adreno 320 will take a convincing lead though.

    • thanatos355
    • 8 years ago

    Nanananananana nananana PadFone!

      • krazyredboy
      • 8 years ago

      Haha…that took me a couple of tries, before I realized what that was.

      I had, at least, two people in my office, wondering “what the heck is he doing?”

        • ImSpartacus
        • 8 years ago

        In the office? Get to work!

    • Decelerate
    • 8 years ago

    The nerd in me adores it (the concept: it’s like Transformers for big guys!)!

    The realist in me waits for the iPad3.

      • Sahrin
      • 8 years ago

      So you can have the satisfaction of purchasing an Android device over and Apple device?

    • Sahrin
    • 8 years ago

    Thank you for speaking to availability. Fucking Anand wrote two different articles that didn’t even mention the fact that the devices would have, at some point, a release date.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 8 years ago

      If there’s no information about it, why bother? I don’t expect an article to arbitrarily hold back information. If the journalists don’t know, then it won’t be in their articles.

        • Sahrin
        • 8 years ago

        If there’s no information about availability then it isn’t a product announcement, it’s a tech demo.

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