The Asus Padfone smartphone/tablet/netbook hybrid really caused a stir back at the MWC, where it was officially unveiled, and ever since February we’ve been asking ourselves if Asus’ innovative creation could really shake things up around the market.
Just 24 hours after finding out that Asus is negotiating with several US carriers to bring a subsidized Padfone to the land of the free and home of the brave, we’re excited to let you know that the gadget is already up for sale in the United States.
Unfortunately, we’re talking about a pretty expensive unlocked version of the Padfone, so you should think long and hard before deciding to purchase “one of the biggest shake ups to the world of mobile technology”, as our good friend and Editor-in-Chief, Darcy LaCouvee, called it a while back.
Negri Electronics is the first US online store to sell the Asus “A Series Padfone” and the gadget’s current price is… drumrolls, please… $859.50. I know, that seems a lot to pay for any kind of Android-based device right now, but then again, the 860 bucks will get you both the 4.3-inch smartphone and the station that turns the phone in a 10.1-inch tablet.
No word on how much time will take the Padfone to get from Negri’s warehouses to your doorstep, but we’re guessing you’re not looking at more than a couple of days of waiting. You should know that the “gray-market retailer” doesn’t offer the Bluetooth headset/stylus we loved so much in last month’s demo video. Also conspicuously missing is the keyboard dock, as it is missing any mention about the the two accessories’s availability.
As you might have guessed, the Padfone listed for $859.50 comes with only 16 GB of on-board memory. The 32 and 64 GB versions are also listed on Negri Electronics’ website, and go for “just” $959.50 and $1059.50 respectively. Those are indeed some hefty price tags, but it’s not like you weren’t warned to expect something like that.
If you need a quick memory refresher on what to expect from the Asus Padfone, let’s say that the 4.3-inch smartphone runs Android 4.0, is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, features 1 GB of RAM and a 960 x 540 pixels resolution Super AMOLED display.
By hooking up the phone to the Padfone station, you’ll get a fully functional 10.1-inch tablet. The device will work as a regular slate, but only with the smartphone connected, as it relies entirely on the handheld’s processor and RAM. On the other hand, the docking station does come with its own 6,600 mAh battery, which should be more than enough to keep the device running for an entire day.
The Padfone hybrid is made complete by a keyboard dock, which increases functionality and battery life even further, while still relying on the phone’s hardware. We don’t know exactly how much will this accessory cost, but given our past experiences with such Asus products, we’re guessing around $150.
Will you buy an unlocked Padfone from Negri Electronics or are you willing to wait for that likely AT&T version of the phone/tablet/laptop hybrid? Is $860 way too much to ask for a mid-range to high-end smartphone that can turn into a tablet? Let us know in the comments section!