Asus contemplating Windows-powered PadFone

Asus is looking to become a major player in the smartphone market, and it’s reportedly in talks with Microsoft to make Windows-based handsets. The Wall Street Journal quotes Asus Vice President of Mobile Communicaton Products Benson Lin as saying the firm is interested in making Windows phones—and that its PadFone hybrid is a particularly good fit for Win8.

Introduced in 2011 and updated this year, the PadFone consists of an ARM-based smartphone that plugs into the back of a 10″ tablet. The smartphone handles all the processing for the tablet, which provides a larger screen and an auxiliary battery. The first-generation PadFone also had a keyboard dock with a touchpad, dual USB ports, an SD reader, and another battery. Triple-changing Transformer, anyone?

While perhaps not the best tool for every job, there is some appeal to having a single device serve as the brain for one’s smartphone, tablet, and notebook. The prospect becomes even more tantalizing when one considers that Intel’s x86-compatible Atom SoCs could allow a PadFone variant to run the full-fat version of Windows 8 along with all your favorite desktop applicatons. As the horsepower available in smartphone chips increases, so does the potential of such a system.

As the WSJ points out, Asus doesn’t have much of a presence in the US smartphone market. However, the firm is in talks with carriers to bring its handsets stateside by next year. While Asus will no doubt face stiff challenges from the likes of Apple, Samsung, and others, the PadFone gives it something unique to offer in a sea of increasingly me-too devices.

Comments closed
    • tarateh00aa
    • 10 years ago
    • Norphy
    • 10 years ago

    I thought the version of the Atom that people are putting into smartphones couldn’t run the full blown version of Windows because it’s lacking certain things that Windows assumes to be there? Like a LPC chip and a PCI bus?

    • oldog
    • 10 years ago

    Is this the Palm Foleo all over again?

    I always thought it was a good idea ahead of its time even if it never saw the light of day.

    • trackerben
    • 10 years ago

    It seems so functional. But with the phone detached the tablet dock becomes a dead screen and dead weight in your carry bag. Unless the dock can be used to charge devices from its USB ports, but then there are cheaper and better devices for that.

    • willmore
    • 10 years ago

    Yeah, add in Windows 8 and it’s sure to be a success.

    • Beelzebubba9
    • 10 years ago

    AMD doesn’t have any cell-phone capable chips in their pipeline – even Temesh will be about twice as power hungry as it’d need to be to compete with ARM and Medfield in the smartphone SoC space.

    • LauRoman
    • 10 years ago

    But what about the phone inside? Will it be running Win8 or WP8? Dual boot or a shared configuration folder is not the same thing as the same os powering both.

    One reason would be the interface might looks similar but there will be apps from one not working on the other. ANother would be that if somehow they shared a config folder, i bet someone will frak-up the permissions and things will end up in the crapper after that.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 10 years ago

    I hadn’t heard of this PadFone before. But I like the sounds of it. I don’t really have a need for a tablet, but for an extra $100 (or something reasonable), why not?

    I love my Win7 phone, but by time this thing comes out, I’d probably be in the market to upgrade.

    • MustangSally
    • 10 years ago

    “Intel’s x86-compatible Atom SoCs could allow a PadFone variant to run the full-fat version of Windows 8”

    Couldn’t they use one of the upcoming low-power AMD chips too? Or is there some reason that wouldn’t work??

    • sweatshopking
    • 10 years ago

    too bad the last one was such a sales failure.

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