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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Samsung Galaxy S II has the fastest GPU in any current smartphone, more than 2x faster than the Galaxy Tab 10.1’s Tegra 2 chip

Anandtech has published some interesting findings based on their extensive Samsung Galaxy S II review. It’s the first smartphone to use the graphics processing unit based on the Mali-400 core from ARM Holdings, a fables chip maker from the UK. In fact, Samsung has engineered and manufactured its own system-on-a-chip solution for the handset.

They call it the Exynos 4210 and it combines a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU core and the aforementioned Mali-400 GPU sporting four cores. The resulting performance, says Anandtech, is comparable to Texas Instruments OMAP 4 chip that incorporates Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX540 GPU core. However, the quad-core 1.2GHz Exynos 4210 probably won’t hold a candle to iPhone 5, which will likely carry the same dual-core processor-GPU combo as the iPad 2’s 1GHz A5 chip:

Samsung implemented a 4-core version of the Mali-400 in the 4210 and its resulting performance is staggering as you can see above. Although it’s still not as fast as the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 found in the iPad 2, it’s anywhere from 1.7 – 4x faster than anything that’s shipping in a smartphone today.

Interestingly, and per the GL Benchmark seen in the above image, the Exynos 4210 is more than twice as fast compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that runs Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chi. It’s also nearly four times speedier than iPhone 4’s 800 MHz A4 chip which has the PowerVT SGX535 GPU core. However, the 4210 falls short in the triangle throughput department.

The publication this this could be a big disadvantage over the iPad 2’s A5 processor that clocks nine times the graphics performance of the original iPad’s A4 chip. Triangle throughput is important in graphics-intensive games and will become key in “future games that may scale along that vector rather than simply increasing pixel shader complexity”. The video of Anandtech’s Samsung Galaxy S II review is right after the break.

Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com.

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Droid 3 running Gingerbread, qHD display, with speedy graphics

The Droid 3, likely pictured above, is getting a little more real this weekend as someone holding one of these beauts decided to run it through the NenaMark1 Benchmarking results (below).

The Results:  The Droid 3’s Texas Instrument’s dual-core 1GHz OMAP4430 CPU boasts a PowerVR SGX 540 GPU, same 960×540/4-inch screen as the Motorola Atrix and is running Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread.  Also codenamed Solana, the model is known to be a XT862.

Since these guys are being benchmarked, a release is likely coming soon – perhaps alongside the Droid X2 which is also expected to debut on May 26th with a qHD 4.3-inch screen and a Tegra 2.   Neither of these devices look to be LTE, so we’re still waiting on a rebranded Bionic?

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