An Asustek official told media representatives yesterday that the upcoming ASUS Padfone will be powered by Android 2.4/4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) when the device is released some time late this year.

Alex Sun, chief of Asustek’s personal mobile devices department, explained that ICS is the operating system of choice for the upcoming ASUS Padfone because the operating system promises better integration across different platforms.

ICS, said to be the unifying version of the Android operating system, is set for release in the fourth quarter and is hoped to patch the fragmentation caused by different releases of Android for smartphones and tablets. Recent reports say that ICS can come out in as early as October this year.

The ASUS Padfone’s design is among the unique ones, since it is made up of a standalone smartphone component that also powers a tablet when the smartphone is docked into the tablet bay. The smartphone itself has a 4.3-inch touchscreen. The tablet component is just a shell and won’t work as a standalone tablet. When combined with the tablet dock, the smartphone renders its display on the dock’s tablet-size 10.1-inch touchscreen. Battery life is also extended when the smartphone component is docked.

Asustek also hinted of plans for a second-generation Padfone that will support 3D graphics and LTE connectivity. Asustek may launch this next-generation Padfone in the first half of 2012.

For the meantime, Asustek is holding back on new phone releases for the rest of the year. According to Sun, Asustek needs to “think about the future direction of its mobile phone business” after the company shifted to a new strategy for its smartphone line.

What’s your take on an ICS-powered ASUS Padfone? Will ICS make you want to get one for yourself?

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