The Asus PadFone has already set the smartphone world abuzz. A device that links with a tablet it is a hybrid between a smartphone and a tablet device. But could it change the way we see media storage on mobile phones from now on?
As a smartphone, the device is a good one, even without the tablet docking feature. It has a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM and a 4.3 inch touchscreen that has a 960 x 540 pixel resolution. It has a Super AMOLED display that will make the images taken on its 8 megapixel camera look crisp and sharp when viewed directly from the phone. There is also a front-facing camera for voice calls. The battery is 1520mAh meaning it should last a good length of time and not run out after just a few hours. In terms of connectivity the PadFone has Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi and via a docking station it can be linked up with a tablet by slotting into the back. If you add in a keyboard you can turn two separate devices into a simple netbook style computer and this also helps you to share material from device to device simply and easily.
It is a potentially revolutionary idea that draws on Asus’ reputation in the PC market and applies it to the smartphone market. As hand held devices get more and more powerful, users want more choice to help them transfer work and documents across their devices. But to be able to transfer documents, videos or media from device to device, the focus then has to turn to storage. The PadFone has up to 64GB of storage and a micro SD card reader. It makes it one of the biggest smartphone devices on the market in terms of storage capacity.
Reports, however, suggest Asus could be planning something even bigger. Speaking to website Techradar, Asus has talked about the potential for a microSDXC format which could increase onboard storage to up to 133GB. Combine that with an expandable plug-in and that means a user could get their hands on up to 2TB on their smartphone.
It seems like a crazy amount of storage but if you consider what smartphones are capable of now storage is going to be a key issue in the next twelve months. Quad-core makes it easier to browse quickly, to upload material faster and stream media seamlessly. No smartphone user is going to do that, however, if their device doesn’t have the storage to contain all of this content. Technology advancements in one corner are great e.g., the processor, but if other areas like the storage and battery can’t keep up then the advance can seem more like a hindrance.
Similarly more and more manufacturers are looking at how to share media and information across devices. Apple already does it via the Cloud. Sony wants to grow the capability with its Xperia range as does Windows Phone via Xbox. Storage will be a big issue if this process is to be as user friendly and seamless as possible. Asus could be experimenting with a potential game-changer. But is this still likely with the industry-wide push towards cloud storage?
Meanwhile Asus has reacted angrily to reports their new PadFone could be priced up to £700. A mobile website quoted the price for the three in one device as £699.98. Asus has issued a statement saying that they haven’t even announced a launch date for the PadFone yet, let alone pricing and carriers and that the news will be announced on their own website, rather than a anywhere else.
The PadFone looks like it could be set to make waves in more ways than one.