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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Asus Padfone: Due this Christmas, possibly running Honeycomb 3.1


More details are trickling in regarding the Padfone, a phone-turned-tablet device that Asus officially announced this morning at Computex. Engadget went hands-on with a device mockup Asus has been showing off at the Computex show. More importantly, they squeezed out a target release date and other tidbits from their manager Benson Lin.

ASUS’ Benson Lin was careful not to openly admit the company intends to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, but he did point out that you can’t launch a smartphone with Honeycomb as the OS. We were encouraged to draw our own conclusions.

Go past the fold for a couple more tidbits…

Asus is shooting for a Christmas release, the publication reported, when a second-generation Transformer and Slider are also due. The Padfone smartphone can be housed inside a tablet shell to double as a portable computer akin to the Eee Transformer Pad. The phone and the tablet communicate via microHDMI and USB, with the latter also supplying power to the phone from the tablet shell batteries.