It's been some time since ASUS announced their Padfone device, and the Padfone Infinity and the Padfone 2, but it really wasn't that long ago when ASUS decided to change the rulebook for tablets and smartphones. Of course, the Padfone wasn't all that successful outside of the Far East, with it unavailable in parts of Europe and pretty much all of North America. Regardless, the Padfone was a great concept and still is, the idea that you carry around two devices that are really one is still a real boon. All of your apps and data from your smartphone is on your tablet and vice versa, because the phone is the tablet. The strange design of having a smartphone "dock" with a tablet seems like something Samsung is looking at.
With a new design patent filed with the US Patent Office and the Trademark Office, Samsung outline a device that takes a smartphone inside itself to become one tablet. The patent details a "wireless communication terminal". There's nothing that details a specialized smartphone to dock with this device, so there's a chance that Samsung could be designing this – if they are designing such a thing – with previous phones in mind, such as the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy S4. With the Galaxy Tab 3 line nothing spectacular, it's clear that Samsung needs something fresh in the tablet market, especially if they hope to go toe-to-toe with Apple's iPad.
A patent-filing doesn't mean that the company has any immediate plans to design and release a product that mirrors the filing but, it could be a big hint that Samsung is looking to branch out a little bit. In the last couple of years, we've seen Samsung wise-up when it comes to patents and there's a chance that they're just filing this to protect themselves later on the in the future. It'd be interesting to see if Samsung did enter the niche that ASUS has created as we can't imagine that the Taiwanese company would be too keen on Samsung taking "inspiration" from the Padfone line.
The real question is though – could Samsung succeed with such a device, despite the Padfone's mediocre performance?