Asus Unveils Padfone Hybrid Android Smartphone-Tablet

Asus has dropped news this morning of what could be considered the showstopper of Computex 2011 in Taipei Taiwan. With all the buzz this past year has brought to the smartphone and tablet space, it's actually surprising it took this long for a major player to step up with the almost too obvious innovation of combining both products together.  Motorola enjoyed some lime light with netbook dockable Atrix 4G smartphone but now Asus is turning heads with a product dubbed the Padfone. And yes, they're spelling it the cool way, with the letter "f" and all.

Powered by what looks like Android Honeycomb but what is rumored to likely to end up being Ice Cream Sandwich by the time the product ships in December this year, the Padphone is a 4.3-inch smartphone that plugs into a 10.1-inch slate dock via its micro-HDMI and micro-USB connections.

Two of a kind...

The Padfone tucked into its docking hatch

Once nestled into its docking hatch in the back of the tablet, the Padfone will drive the higher resolution display for a full fledged tablet experience.  The tablet will also have its own internal battery for charging and powering the handset while docked.  Nice.

Front and rear facing camera with a 4.3-inch display

The phone itself is a slim, sleak form factor reminiscent of Dell's Venue line of phones perhaps, but with Asus stylings that are in keeping with products like the copper-colored finish of the Eee Pad Transformer.  A 5MP rear-facing camera with flash can be seen here, as well as a front-facing camera, along with the traditional Android navigation buttons.  And of course Asus has prepped a funky lifestyle video of the device for us all to enjoy as well...

Again, expect the Padfone to ship sometime this holiday shopping season but also expect a few subtle or not-so subtle changes along the way.  The company is showing only mock-ups at the Computex event and clearly Honeycomb isn't shipping on a handset any time soon.  We're going to have to wait for the next gen handset OS from Google for this device but if we've all been good boys and girls this year, it's probably going to be worth the wait.