Meet the netbook that’s also a tablet and a phone. This week, global hardware firm Asus launched the PadFone, a smartphone-tablet- netbook hybrid for the Indian market.
Already being shipped in the U.S., U.K. and some Asia-Pacific markets, and having met with “considerable success” in those markets, the quirky product arrives in India just a month before Asus is slated to release an improved second iteration of the gadget set. Asus made ripples on the tech hardware scene in February this year when it demoed the product at the Mobile World Congress.
Priced at Rs. 64,000, this three-in-one purchase will give you a 10.1-inch tablet that runs on Android (Ice-cream Sandwich), a 4.3-inch smartphone that docks inside the tablet (yes, this part’s pretty nifty), and a keyboard dock that can convert your system into a traditional netbook. And in case you’re wondering if it wouldn’t be too inconvenient to fetch the phone out every time it rings, there are two options: you can use your tablet on speaker or, better still, use the stylus. Yes, the stylus, which looks just like a conventional tablet stylus, doubles as a Bluetooth headset, so it would appear like you’re talking into your pen. It’s evident the marketing team of Asus in India is still in awe of the product as they show how slick each interface is, and how easily the smartphone can disappear into the body of the slim tablet.
Despite the high price-point, the team believes the product may appeal to the “first-time” user, who is “likely to want a three-in-one solution to all her computing needs”. Unaez Quiraishi, marketing team lead for Asus, points out that when the mobile is docked, the tablet uses the phone’s connection for Internet access; so one data plan will suffice for all devices.
Asus currently has 7 per cent market share in India, according to International Data Corporation reports, and has over 40 stores across the country. A majority of these are in tier II and tier III cities.