Asus launches the Padfone, a unique 3-in-one device in India for Rs. 64,999

At a press event yesterday, Asus officially launched the latest in their range of tablets here in India. They launched the Padfone, which is a Phone, Tablet and a Netbook all rolled into one and the Transformer Tab TF300G, a 3G enabled tablet with a keyboard dock which extends the tablet’s battery life.

The Padfone is a unique product from Asus which acts as an Android phone, which when docked to the Padfone station becomes a 10.1″ tablet. This when docked with the Padfone station Dock, features a full keyboard with a multi-touch trackpad making this combo a netbook. In the last configuration, you can get up to 102 hours of talk time on your phone, since the tablet and the keyboard have separate batteries which is used to charge the phone while it’s docked.

More about the Padfone right after this video of an awesome Laser show from the launch event.

The Asus Padfone

The Asus Padfone is a premium range device from Asus, which is an Android Phone which docks into a tablet for a bigger display and extended battery charger. Their package also features a keyboard dock, which provides a physical keyboard and even more battery backup for your phone. That’s a lot of batteries – The phone comes with a 1520 mAh battery, the tablet (or the PadFone station, as Asus calls it) has a 24.4 Watt-hour battery, and the keyboard dock (The Padfone Station Dock) features 24.4 Watt-hour battery. All these put together gives your phone a whopping 102 hours of talktime.

The phone features a 4.3 inch qHD display (960 x 540), 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, a Qualcomm dualcore 1.5GHz  processor, 8MP rear camera & a 0.3 MP front camera. The phone runs on Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich. When the phone is docked into the docking station in the tablet, the display from the phone is dynamically switched over to the 10.1″ screen, with a resolution of 1280 x 800. During this switch all your apps continue from where you left it on the phone, so you can continue that video and game from the phone to the tablet. During the event they demoed a video being played on the tablet and when the phone was undocked, the video oh the phone continued playing from where it left off while viewing it on the tablet.

The keyboard dock  along with additional USB connectors and card reader to extend the onboard storage or transfer data in and out of your phone. Along with this Asus is also throwing in a Bluetooth Stylus in their bundle. The Stylus allows to receive calls when your phone is docked into the tablet, apart from using it to draw, sketch or write on the tablet.

“Today’s introduction of PadFone will be an utmost expansion of our users’ world where they will enjoy, achieve and save categorically. It is an alluring proof to substantiate our prime focus on the mastery of technological innovation and design perfection. We are assertive that PadFone will touch customers’ heart in terms of incredible product, incredible design, incredible quality and incredible service,” Mr. Alex Huang, Managing Director, System Business Group, Asus India said.

Asus Padfone Specs

The Padfone pricing in India

Asus is planning on selling the Padfone package in India for an MRP of Rs. 64,999. This includes the phone, tablet, the keyboard dock and the bluetooth Stylus.

What do we think?

The Asus Padfone is on the pricier side of the spectrum. You have to make a choice to use the phone + tablet from Asus. Since tablet doesn’t function unless the phone is docked in, it’s not like buying two different devices, but extending the same device. So the kids or others at home can’t play on the tablet while you’re out using the phone.

If you’re  like me, who ends up doing quite a lot of my communication and some of my work on the phone or tablet, the bigger screen and a physical keyboard for the phone, when I need to type out on docs, email and blog posts, is an added advantage.  The additional battery backups from the tablet and the keyboard dock is also an excellent option when travelling. I don’t know about answering calls on the stylus though, even though it sounds cool in the geek world.

Would I pay a the premium cost this tablet commands? I’d say, probably not. Asus may get a little more traction with sales of the Padfone  if they de-couple the devices and sold the phone+tablet separately at a lower cost, so people could get that without the keyboard dock and the stylus.

The Padfone Launch Video

Top 5 Options for Tablet Purchase

We are living in the age where tablets are gaining popularity. The drastic improvement in memory technologies and advancements in processing technologies have enabled the development of handheld computing devices, called tablets.

Let us check the top 5 tablets in terms of their performance –

Apple iPad 3 or The New iPad

Apple iPad is the third generation iPad. Apple iPad 3 offers a very high resolution display thanks to the innovative ‘Retina display’ system with a whopping 2048 x 1536 resolution. You can enjoy high definition movies and video games on the crystal clear display. Another strong feature of new Apple iPad (Apple simply calls iPad instead of iPad 3) is 4G connectivity, with the help of which, internet is accessible at amazing speeds. iPad comes with 9.7” LED backlit IPS LCD screen & is powered by 1GHz dual core Apple A5X processor, along-with an internal memory of 1GB. You can avail storage capacities of 16 or 32 or 64 GB depending on your budget. The tablet is enabled with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The camera’s image quality is rated 4 out of 5. Even though the gadget is bet heavier than its predecessor, it has all the possibilities to attract customers as well as pose challenge for competitors in the market.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE offers attractive features to compete with top brands including Apple and Google. The tablet features HD display, Dolby sound system, dual band and dual antenna and 4G LTE connection. You can purchase the tablet in two storage capacities (either 32 GB or 64 GB). It lets you enjoy crystal clear video calls through Skype. Your kids will fall in love with Kindle Fire with a personalized interface.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE gives you access to a large number of movies, television shows, games, magazines, books (PDF and audio) and music files. You can save a lot towards the carrier cost in the first year. It has fastest Wi-Fi and revolutionary 4G connectivity. The advantage of going with this tablet is the wealth of content which Amazon provides.

Google Nexus 7

Google Nexus 7 comes with high quality hardware that will give you long life. It comes with NFC support, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and a large bundle of Google freebies. Since this is a Nexus device, you’ll be guaranteed OS updates from Google, which roll out so much more faster than on other devices.

The tablet signifies Google’s attempt to present the best in class Android powered gadget. Tera 3 quad core processor and high end specifications make Google Nexus 7 a great choice for tablet lovers at an affordable cost of $199 for the 8GB varient. If you’re the type who like carrying around your media collections, you may want to invest a little more for higher storage, since there’s absolutely no way to upgrade the memory on this device.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 is a very light and thin tablet. It comes with a very fine looking aluminium finish. You can enjoy the great display and long battery life.  We did review the older version of the Transformer here months back.You can enjoy games with Tera 3 processor. The advantage with this tablet is the docking station which doubles up as a physical keyboard and an additional battery.  With the keyboard dock, the tablet transforms itself into an ultrabook, which makes typing those long documents and emails so easy. The keyboard dock is not part of the sales package and has to be bought separately.

However, it doesn’t look to challenge the supremacy of the market biggies.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will enhance your creativity to the maximum. The most unique thing about this tab is it’s S-PEN stylus which would allow you to draw & write notes. It is also packed with exclusive quad core processor, latest Android’s Icre-cream sandwich platform.

The micro SD card slot always allows you options to add more storage. The wi-fi feature allows you to get connected to the web at any given moment, along-with multiscreen facility. It’s competitive pricing always is an add-on incentive vis-a-vis other tablets.

So, which one are you buying?

Kindle Fire 2 – Feature Upgrades and Competition

Kindle Fire 2 is all set to be launched with a powerful camera and high resolution display system. By Nov. 2012, Amazon’s Kindle Fire will be celebrating its first birthday and the season should coincide with its successor.

The USP of the new Kindle Fire Tablet will be more powerful and yet thinner and lighter in weight than the current one. A built-in camera with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution will be the main attraction of the new gadget.

Let us explore more about the current Kindle Fire before what to expect from the Kindle Fire 2 which will be launched soon –

Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire, the tablet computer gives you the power to perform most of the day to day task that you perform on a personal computer. Some of them are as follows –

• You can browse, purchase books and movies, watch TV shows and play games on small sized Kindle Fire.
• If you possess Kindle Fire, you can purchase applications of your choice from the Amazon App Store.
• If you are one of the fortunate prime customers of Amazon, you can stream movies directly on the Kindle Fire.
• Compared to iPad, Kindle Fire’s price is very less.
• Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard are other versions which are still priced less than Kindle Fire.
• Kindle Fire uses Amazon browser called Amazon Silk. It is boasted that web services will load fast through the browser.
• Kindle Fire is rumored to be priced less than its actual cost price to attract new customers.
• Amazon has alternate plans to compensate that loss by selling content from the store.

The new features of Kindle Fire 2

The new Kindle Fire’s dimensions will be in a similar range as that of iPad 2 and it will be a great facelift from the current Kindle Fire. The current tablet offers resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. In addition to the improvement in the resolutions, the edges will be sharper than before. The aspect ratio of the coming version will be 1.6 whereas the current version holds it at 1.7. When compared to the iPad 3’s resolutions, Kindle Fire stays far behind. It is expected that the new device will be rolled out in September.

In addition to the better resolution, there are rumors that multiple models of the device will be launched, and there’s also rumors of 4G connectivity on the Kindle.

Competition

As per the reports from a different source, Amazon is going to launch two tablet versions. The first one code named, Coyote will be powered by dual core processors and the second tablet code named, Hollywood will be powered by a quad core processor. Regardless of one or two tablets that are being launched, Amazon is going to face stiff competition from iPad and other tablets in the market. It will be a great challenge to defeat feature-rich iPad. Apple is also poised to launch a mini version of iPad which will match the price of the Kindle Fire. It will be a touch task for Amazon to head on with user friendly iPad. The 7″ sized Nexus 7 from Google which had already received great reviews is another great competitor.

Consumers would have plenty of options to choose from in the coming days. The winner would have to have the best of features, technology, user-friendliness and must be ever-innovative. Must say, the tablet war could be more competitive than the smart-phone war. The more competitive it is, the better it would be for you & me.

Panasonic’s Toughbook Inspired Robust Tablets: Toughpad A1 and B1

Panasonic’s ToughBook – Inspired Tablets are making their way by presenting robust and secured series of Android tablets. The 10.1″ ToughPad A1 and 7″ ToughPad B1 are expected to hit the market in spring 2012 and later part of 2012 respectively. Even though specs, pricing and launch dates are available for A1 it will take more time for B1 (to get a more realistic picture). The robust high security featured android tablets are creating much hype in tech circles. Even though Panasonic didn’t have enough share in tablets market, with the launch of new tablets it can fare well especially with the support likely to receive from business and government users.

ToughPad A1 offers Android 3.2 Honeycomb Operating System. The toughpad features 1.2 GHz dual-core Marvell processor, 1 GB RAM and RAM that can be extended up to 16 GB. With 5 MP rear end camera and 2 MP front shooter connecting to both LTE and WiMAX, A1 Toughpad is priced at $1299. Even though the pricing is not quite competitive, it appears that Panasonic might have clinched some robust business and military deals.

Compared to Apple, Panasonic might have targeted the tablets to a small segment of customers. Apple’s launch of tablets had brought a real change in the lives of millions of people around the world. It seems that Panasonic is following the path of Lenovo in selling androids to government and business users. Both A1 and B1 will deliver enterprise supported tools like app store, developer tools and additional technical support.

There is a requirement for security enhanced tablets in the business world. Panasonic promptly addresses this need by launching security rich tablet for commercial use. For example, Panasonic’s A1 gives security at hardware level also. It offers encrypted technologies both at hardware and software levels and dual factor authentication. Trusted boot, device management features and enhanced VPN makes A1 sought after tablet in the business segment. With enhanced security measures embedded in A1, the toughpad becomes FIPS 140-2 compliant for usage in Government circles and HIPAA ready for clearance in healthcare sector.

With the custom level of control that can be leveraged by administrators, greater control is achieved on the new tablets. Corporate can prefer these tablets for field level usage instead of going for consumer grade tablets which cannot offer business level of security. The day light viewable screen enables usage in the field, supply chain logistics and government departments. The stylus and active digitizer lets users help enter text in broad day light and capture signature from customers. The extended battery life and integrated cameras help you carry on the work which aptly fits for the entire day.

The device has also got good ratings for drops, water and dust protection. It can be used in a wide range of temperatures. Field staff productivity is optimized with enhanced reliable features. Besides robust features, the device also offers full set of accessories which makes it easy to connect with various devices it supports. If you want more of Panasonic’s new tablet news, you can follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Do you think the Toughpads will be able to handle really rough treatment? Check out the Promo Video Below:

Three Exciting Alternates for Mac Book Air

With its faster Intel processor and a Backlit keyboard, the Mac Book Air has been the most desirable Notebook from the moment it had hit the Market. It is significantly cheaper than the older model which Apple launched two years back. A 13 inch model with a sleek look and a lot slimmer than its predecessors, gives out many additional features such as the USB port, the SD card slot and the stereo speakers. But, if you are not among those who are fanatically dedicated to Apple and can try other Ultraportable Notebooks in the industry today, we promise you that there is no dearth of options and they are certainly worth looking at if you are just going to run Windows on it. And to your surprise, they come with a price tag under $1000 or cost you a little bit more. So, let’s get started to have a look at the latest offerings we came across to help you opt against the incredibly expensive Mac Book Air.

1. MSI X370 ($ 579) – MSI has rolled out its new generation MSI X370 Notebook computer, featuring AMD’s dual-core E-350 fusion processor with its power sipping technology, giving the X370 up to ten hours of battery power per charge. This ultra slim notebook with a gorgeously slender body has the power to keep up with the on-the-go Lifestyle. At only 3.2lb and less than 1″ thick you can travel anywhere while staying connected. AMD’s Radeon HD discrete class audio and video playback, you can enjoy hours of your favourite HD movies with beautiful detail and realistic graphics. Though it doesn’t have the Core i7 processor, you can still opt it for its sleek perfection and ultraportable style.

2. ThinkPad X1 ($ 1,299) – Even with some contemporary touches given to the latest X1, ThinkPad X1 still looks and feels like a ThinkPad especially if you have had an experience with an X series model before. It has got a seamless design but is a little extra thick, weighing around 3.7 pounds. Still, it compensates on the power and options such as 13″ display, USB 3.0, Dolby Home Theatre v4, Advanced VOIP controls and a backlit island style keyboard. You will find yourself interacting with it more than just a Corporate Black Box- but more as a personal Note Book which can extend its battery life with an optional slice battery for 8 hours. It certainly hits the Bull’s eye with its mark.

3. Mac Book Pro ($ 1,199) – If you are still keen on Mac Book, you are not to be blamed. They are just about the slickest, most elegantly designed laptops money can buy. This 13-inch Mac Book Pro boasts much chunkier dimensions and comes with a Core i5 chip as standard. It may be the best fit if you are a student as it comes with educational discounts which essentially mean $999 for students. All things considered, Mac Book Pro fairs well with its faster processor, more storage and more RAM. It helps you handle ordinary tasks and run HD video with fluidity but lets you down if you need to do anything with more computations.

All said and done, it’s still not so easy to compete against Mac book Air. We hope these alternatives would give you an idea about the best possible options available to suit your style and your pockets. Of course if you’re willing to sacrifice a few features, the Dell Laptop deals page also has some similar offerings.