At an afternoon press conference across the street from MWC 2013's enormous venue, ASUS has just wrapped a (hilarious) press conference that saw the introduction of two new devices (or three?) – the Padfone Infinity and the Fonepad. Before we dive in for hands-on, let's take a quick look at the specs and pricing for the devices.
Jonney Shih with the Padfone Infinity
The Padfone Infinity is the tablet/phone combination we were expecting from ASUS today.
If you're looking for a tablet that can also function as a laptop, it's hard to beat ASUS' Transformer series. And out of the current lineup, the reigning champ is definitely the Infinity. Its 1900x1200 display is one of the best you can get in an Android tablet, and the 1.7GHz quad-core Tegra 3 keeps things running smoothly. Plus, when coupled with the keyboard dock, the battery life is pretty phenomenal.
Late last week, ASUS began pushing Jelly Bean to the Transformer Prime, and it followed up by doing the same for the Infinity this week. That's great for users running stock systems with locked bootloaders, but if you don't fall into that camp, then you get no OTA love from ASUS. Now, though, they have made available the full stock ROMs for both tablets.
The ROMs, which are Android 4.1.1, can be flashed using any custom recovery - simply unzip the download and drop the contents onto your device's storage partition.
Just yesterday, ASUS promised both TF201 and TF700 owners their Jelly Bean updates on September 28th and 29th, respectively. While they owned up to that for the Prime, the Infinity isn't so lucky: they just had to push the update back.
According to ASUS rep Gary Key, "a couple of applications that were recently updated (Facebook 1.9.10 on 9/20 as one example) required a last minute firmware update for the keyboard to operate correctly in the "Comment" area with Android 4.1."
It's not all bad, though - the update should still begin rolling out early next week.
I love how fast ASUS moves. When they say an update is coming, you can rest assured that it's coming soon. Just this morning they teased us a bit on Facebook, and ASUS rep Gary Key took to XDA to let users know that the Jelly Bean updates for the Prime and Infinity would be rolling out "within 72 hours."
Now, this evening, they've published a rollout schedule and full changelog for both devices:
Upgrade OS from Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
Default enable System Bar Lock
Add Multiple Photo Selection feature
Support Connect Dock (Accessory)
Remove Adobe Flash support
Remove Wi-Fi Direct function support
Remove Press Reader
It's also noted that Press Reader, should you actually use it, will still be available in the Play Store.
When ASUS announced the Jelly Bean update for the Transformer Prime in Sweden yesterday, there were two questions that immediately popped up: what about the rest of the world? and when will the Infinity get updated?
We now have answers to both, even if in the simplest of terms: soon.
Update: ASUS rep Gary Key took to the XDA forums to give users a better timeline of when the updates should begin rolling out.
If you're lucky enough to have already received your TF700, there's an update slowly rolling out that brings a handful of enhancements to the device. Like with most other ASUS OTAs, a changelog isn't available, but users are reporting increased touch sensitivity, support for 64GB and larger SD cards, an updated camera app, better I/O performance, and other stability improvements.
The update is not yet available on my TF700 at the time of writing this, so we expect it's rolling out on a schedule and will likely begin hitting more device soon.
You might remember ASUS as the company that manufactured the overwhelmingly popular Nexus 7 tablet. Did you know that ASUS makes other tablets as well? It's true! Among them are the Transformer Pad, Transformer Pad Prime, and Transformer Pad Infinity. If you happen to own one of these tablets, then ASUS would like you to know that your slate is "scheduled to receive Android 4.1 updates in the coming months." Nice, huh?
With the flagship Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700) release right around the corner and the release of the budget-oriented Transformer Pad (TF300) a few months ago, Asus has filled out it's line-up of 10" quad-core Android tablets. Obviously, most people would opt for the highest of the high-end (that'd be the TF700) if they were just looking to blow money. Unfortunately, most people aren't just looking for ways to spend as much money as possible, so instead, they spend enough to cover their needs.
Fun fact: a 1080p display packs 2,073,600 pixels. The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity (or TF700)? 2,304,000 - or 230,400 more. Most 1080p HDTVs are somewhere around 40-60 inches. The TF700 checks in at just 10. Compared to a 40" HDTV, that's 111% of the pixels in a package that's 6.25% of the size.
The screen may be the real headline feature with the Infinity, but it's not the only one worthy of note.