When ASUS came out with the PadFone concept, many didn't think that it would even hit the market but, once Ice Cream Sandwich arrived, ASUS had the last piece of the puzzle and sure enough, the PadFone was born. Still, the device has only been made available in most of Asia and some select markets outside of that and it's fair to say that compared to ASUS' other tablet offerings, it just hasn't been all that well received. Despite a couple of revisions, the PadFone remains a curiosity for most, and an expensive one at that. ASUS seem ready to try something different with their next PadFone, instead of refining their original concept once more.
As Engadget is reporting, a smaller PadFone has just passed through the Global Certification Forum, much like FCC filings, this can tell us a fair bit about the device. This PadFone Mini could well end up solving the price part of the problem as well as the size issue, too. 10-inch tablets are great and all but, we like taking tablets with us – that's essentially the whole point – and a 10-inch tablet is often too much for us to carry around. The phone part of this latest PadFone has been identified as a 4.3-incher sporting a Snapdragon 400 CPU and a 960 x 540 display resolution. Both things that point to a lower price tag.
As for the tablet part of the equation, 7-inches was thought to be the size of the PadFone mini but, there's listings from Taiwan's NCC listing a weight that's more common with larger slates but, the cradle and connectors needed to turn phone into tablet could add some extra weight. Those thinking of a smaller PadFone with 4G might be disappointed however, as there's only listings for WiFi and 3G. On the bright side though, this could be another factor that pushes the price down a little more.
If ASUS could deliver a PadFone that was more portable, more flexible for users at a lower price point, it would probably enjoy a little more success. Not just that but, it might finally be a foot in the door for ASUS when it comes to the US smartphone market.