The year of the tablet phone continues with the 7-inch Asus Fonepad & new HD Padfone hybrid

Following the official announcement of Samsung’s 8-inch Galaxy Note smartphone and tablet hybrid, Asus today made things official for its own 7-inch tablet with built-in 3G calling capabilities. We’re not exactly sure if consumers are asking for a 7-inch or larger device for making calls, but the addition of an HSPA+ radio is on top of otherwise decent specs compared to its competitors. Dubbed the FonePad, Asus said the device includes a 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2420 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 1,280-by-800 HD display, and a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. The Fonepad also packs a 4,270mAh battery that Asus said should bring around 9 hours of battery life.

As for availability, Asus said the Fonepad would arrive to customers in the U.K. sometime in late Q2 of this year with prices starting at £179 (inc VAT) for the 16GB variant.

The company also announced another phone/tablet hybrid today, the next-generation PadFone. Asus has released previous generations of the device including a smartphone and tablet dock that allows users to quickly switch from the tablet form factor to a smartphone. It announced it is upgrading the smartphone portion to a 5-inch, 1080p display, while the 10.1-inch tablet gets a new 1,920-by-1,200 display and upgraded internals (via Engadget):

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Report: Four carriers fight for fastest 3G and 4G speeds, only two debut on top

PC World tested 3G and 4G wireless data transfer speeds for the top four carriers —both indoors and outside with multiple devices across 13 major cities in 130 testing locations— and discovered some surprising results.

During average wireless speed tests for 3G networks with the smartphones pictured above, T-Mobile took home the fastest download and upload speed prize at 3.84 Mbps and 1.44 Mbps, respectively. AT&T landed the No. 2 spot with its 2.62 Mbps download speed and 0.85-Mbps upload speed.

The slower 3G network provider reclaimed its pride and rose to fame with its 4G wireless speeds, however. AT&T garnered 9.56 Mbps while downloading and 5.15 Mbps for uploads. Verizon debuted at second with its 7.35 Mbps download speed and 5.86 Mbps upload speed.

The overall winners are named below.

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Qualcomm updates Snapdragon S4 chip with four times faster Adreno 320 graphics, outs three new Gobi modem chipsets supporting both 150Mbps LTE-Advanced and 84Mbps HSPA+

Chip maker Qualcomm today introduced three new Gobi modem chipsets at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain and an improved version of the Snapdragon S4 chip for high-end smartphones. The 28-nanometer third-generation MDM8225, MDM9225 and MDM9625 support both LTE-Advanced and dual-carrier 84Mbps HSPA+ Release 10 cellular networks (perhaps fitting in T-Mobile USA’s 2012 plan). If that’s not speedy enough: The MDM9225 and MDM9625 can go all the way up to 150Mbps, because they support LTE Category 4 with carrier aggregation technology.

All three pieces of silicon are backwards compatible with today’s popular standards, including EV-DO Advanced, GSM, TD-SCDMA, FDD and TDD. The MDM8225 chipset supports UMTS-only devices, the MDM9225 chipset supports LTE and UMTS devices, and the MDM9625 chipset supports LTE, UMTS and CDMA2000 devices. All three chipsets will begin sampling in Q4 2012. Compared to Qualcomm’s previous MDM9x15 series (see below the fold), the new chips offer a reduction in power consumption and overall board area that allow for smaller devices with longer battery life.

Qualcomm also launched today an improved version of the Snapdragon S4 system-on-a-chip that powers about 340 mobile devices. It has notably faster graphics, supports Windows 8, includes dedicated hardware to accelerate Windows and fully supports the top game engines in the industry from Unity, Epic and others.

More on the new Snapdragon S4 “Pro” chip and full press releases are after the break.

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