Some Americans waited literally years for the weird and wonderful PadFone series to show up on a local carrier... and were finally unsurprised to see AT&T be the only one to bite. (Seriously, between all that Amazon and HTC hardware, AT&T seems like the only American carrier willing to take a little risk.) Now AT&T and ASUS are teaming up again for the slightly smaller version of the phone-tablet docking concept, the PadFone X Mini.

PadFone_X_mini-2_lo-res

If you don't remember this particular iteration of the PadFone (and we don't blame you, there have been a few), it's the one with a vertically-oriented 7" tablet "dock" instead of the more conventional full-sized tablet form factor. The "X" variant is slightly different from the Padfone Mini announced at CES at the beginning of the year. The fone phone portion is somewhat low-end, starting with the 4.5-inch, 854x480 screen - I suppose ASUS thinks you'll be doing all your reading on the tablet. It uses an Intel chipset, specifically the dual-core Z2560 running at 1.6GHz, still a rarity on phones but a regular feature of the ASUS lineup. The phone has just 1GB of RAM, with storage space unmentioned in the PR, though you do get a MicroSD card slot. The phone's rear camera is 5MP while the front-facing camera is 2MP.

PadFone_X_mini-1_lo-res

The tablet dock is 7", which is a bit small, but still dramatically bigger than the standard phone screen. That panel will let you access all of the software on the phone at 1280x800. The tablet also has a 1MP front-facing camera with no rear, because the slide-in dock design allows the rear camera of the phone to be used even in tablet mode. The tablet's 2200mAh battery will power itself and recharge the phone's 2060mAh removable battery, at least to some degree.

All of it is powered by Android 4.4, plus whatever software magic ASUS has to throw in to make the docking system work. You can expect more than a few AT&T bloatware apps as well. The combo is surprisingly affordable at $199.99 without a contract, marketed and sold under the AT&T GoPhone prepaid label. The PadFone X Mini will be available online and at retailers starting on October 24th, next Friday.

ASUS, AT&T and Intel Corporation today announced the availability of the ASUS PadFone X mini, a 4.5-inch 4G LTE[2] smartphone powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor and Intel® XMM™ 7160 LTE modem. The PadFone X mini transforms into a 7-inch 4G LTE tablet-like experience when docked into its companion docking station. It will be available in AT&T retail stores on Oct. 24 and in national retailers by November. Exclusively on the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network, covering more than 300 million Americans, the PadFone X mini will retail for $199.99 on GoPhone®, AT&T's branded prepaid service.[3] Plans start at only $40 per month for 500 MB of data and 500 minutes of talk time.

For ASUS, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Mobile Communication, Benson Lin stated, "ASUS is passionate about providing incredible experiences. We are excited to work with AT&T and Intel to bring the ASUS PadFone X mini to the U.S. This unique device offers the compelling combination of a 4.5-inch LTE smartphone and the power and versatility of a 7-inch handheld tablet that allows people the best of both world experiences."

"The combination of Intel's processor and cutting-edge LTE solution gives the PadFone X mini a robust, one-two punch for U.S. consumers," said Hermann Eul, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile Communication Group. "People are demanding more from their devices, and the phone's unique smartphone and tablet form factor allows consumers to have more capabilities on one data plan, all at an affordable price. Intel, ASUS and AT&T have proven to be a powerful trio to deliver a fast and easy-to-use phone for on-the-go multi-taskers."

Power, Convenience and Beauty Converge
The PadFone X mini is the first smartphone for the U.S. market powered by an Intel application processor and an Intel LTE solution. The device has an Intel XMM 7160 LTE modem and an Intel Atom processor with Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology, which supports four simultaneous application threads for smooth and seamless multitasking and responsive web browsing. Additional features include:

  • Automatic charging with up to 28.3 hours of battery life when the phone is docked into the station, and up to 15.8 hours of battery life on a single charge when used in the smartphone mode.[4]
  • ASUS exclusive 5-megapixel (5MP) PixelMaster camera for high-quality photos.
  • ASUS DynamicDisplay[5] technology that resizes apps for the different display sizes, as well as the ASUS ZenUI, an exclusive user interface for smart devices that includes features such as ASUS ZenUI What's Next and Do It Later. These new features put users' next task in front of them or allows them to mark items for follow-up.
  • The Side Flip Cover and TriCover, a stylish and practical cover lined with microfiber with a tough polyurethane outer cover for the phone and docking station that helps prevent scratches, scrapes, and dents in two different landscape orientations.

Availability and Pricing
On Oct. 24, customers can purchase an ASUS PadFone X mini from AT&T for $199.99 with GoPhone plans that start at only $40 per month. Customers can also get the PadFone X mini online at www.asus.com or www.att.com or in AT&T retail stores that offer GoPhone. Starting in October, the ASUS PadFone X mini will be available at national retailers.