Asus has introduced the PadFone Infinity Lite, a smartphone that can be plugged into a docking station to power a tablet computer. The handset features a 5-inch touch screen, while the tablet has a 10.1-inch display. Pricing will be about $700, with initial availability in Taiwan.
Asus and Huawei Technologies introduced new wireless devices on Monday with Asus teaming up with AT&T in the U.S. on the Padfone X hybrid device -- a 5-inch smartphone that turns into a 9-inch tablet when docked. Asus is making a major U.S. push with its multicolored ZenFone series of smartphones, ranging from 4 to 6 inches in size and equipped with a ZenUI interface that runs inside Android. Huawei updated its Ascend Mate "phablet" hybrid that boasts two days of battery life and the ability to charge other devices.
Samsung Electronics on Wednesday introduced a larger Galaxy Note 3 "phablet," expanding the smartphone's display from 5.5 to 5.7 inches while shedding weight and thickness and adding more memory. Samsung also unveiled its latest version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, the "2014 Edition," which is 7.9 millimeters thick. The slate carries a higher resolution, 3 gigabytes of RAM and a 1.9 GHz, 8-core Octa processor. Also, Asus added 6- and 7-inch tablets to its Fonepad roster and 8- and 10-inch Memo Pad slates. And Toshiba offered its Windows 8.1-powered 8-inch Encore tablet as the first to carry Intel's Bay Trail-T, the company's new Atom chip.
Asus is reportedly close to introducing the Fonepad, a hybrid mobile device with a 7-inch screen that is expected to be based on an Atom processor from Intel and run the Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" operating system. The larger display on the iPhone 5 leads Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital to speculate that Apple could bring out its own "phablet" next year after updating the iPhone 5.
Asus may try to wedge itself into the competitive U.S. smartphone market by selling Windows 8-based handsets, a top executive said in an interview, adding the PC maker was in talks with Microsoft to allow Asus to import a version of the Padfone, a smartphone that docks into a tablet. The executive also said that Asus was in discussions with U.S. carriers about the Padfone.