I've been lusting after ASUS' ambitious Padfone devices ever since they were announced way back in 2012. But since ASUS is a company that focuses on its home market first, we haven't seen hide nor hair of the docking smartphone-tablet hybrids over here in the United States. According to an Engadget interview with ASUS CEO Jerry Shen, that could change as soon as the second quarter of next year.
The interview is a lengthy one, but the juicy bit is near the end: Shen says that ASUS is partnering with a "big operator" in the United States to launch the next iteration of the Padfone on our shores.
As we saw late last week, ASUS is looking to bring its unique Padfone concept to different form factors and price points. Enter the Padfone Mini, a new entry in the series that retains the dockable phone-tablet hybrid idea but shrinks it down to make it more affordable. The phone itself isn't much smaller at 4.3", but the tablet dock now has a 7-inch screen instead of 10, not to mention a vertical orientation.
The Padfone form factor is a unique one, and even if it hasn't set the world on fire, I'm glad to see that ASUS continues to upgrade and modify it. The latest iteration appears to be a midrange phone/tablet combo: reliable tipster Evleaks showed a new PadFone Mini model on his Twitter account, with a 4.3" phone body and what appears to be a 7-inch tablet shell.
The 1080p update to the Nexus 7 is all the rage at the moment, but that doesn't make the original Tegra 3 version from 2012 any less worthy. And since it's now being discounted just about everywhere, it's considerablymore worthy than it might otherwise be. Case in point: Groupon is offering the WiFi tablet on its online-only shopping portal at $119 for the 16GB version, $149 for 32GB.
These are new tablets according to the description, which technically puts the discount at $80 and $100, respectively.
Asus has been in the business of making Android tablets for as long as it has been a viable business. The company has certainly won praise for its efforts on Google's Nexus tablets, but Asus still makes its own separate tablets in the Transformer line. The newest entrant in that group is the Transformer Pad TF701T. It's not the catchiest name ever slapped on a wedge of metal and glass, but it's not the name that we're interested in – it's the experience.
Update: The US update just hit our unit in the wee hours of the morning, right on time. It's 273.17MB and takes about 10 minutes to install if you've got the mobile dock (less if you don't). You should be able to get the update by hitting up the system OTA menu. Remember, the full images for the Taiwanese and worldwide SKUs were posted a few days ago, so you can go that route if you want.
There are a lot of Bluetooth keyboards aimed at Android tablets, but ASUS' Transformer series of tablets and docks has long been a favorite of those who prefer a full laptop-style form factor. ASUS is trying to bring that same experience (or at least part of it) to a broader range of devices with the TransKeyboard, revealed on the company's YouTube channel late last night.
The TransKeyboard is pretty similar to other mobile keyboards - it's relatively compact and interoperable with Android smartphones/tablets and PCs.
The ASUS Transformer series may not be a household name, but it's one of the oldest Android tablet brands around. Each release has been solid, and the latest Transformer Pad Infinity TF701T kicks things up a notch. Anyone in the US waiting to get their hands on this combination tablet and keyboard dock will be happy to know that it's now available on Amazon.
The tablet ships for $449, and the dock is sold separately, just as it has always been.
Amazon subsidiary Woot.com has taken the wraps off another one of its big tablet sales. This promotion isn't like their normal "one deal a day" operations - the prices will be good until November 1st at 9AM Central, though the individual listings are still limited by stock. The good deals are on refurbished Samsung and Asus hardware, though some of the dirt-cheap tablets you might see in the discount aisle are also there.
It's that time again, boys and girls. Last week the LTE model of the new Nexus 7 got an over-the-air update to Android 4.3.1, which was build number JLS36I for that specific device. As usual, Google has posted the factory software image for end users to download and the driver binaries for developers to play with.
You can find them in the usual locations, right next to all the other current files for Nexus devices on the Factory Images and Binaries pages at Developers.Google.com.