What a day, folks. Mere moments after talking up Asus’ new Padfone Infinity, CEO Jonney Shih has revealed that the oft-rumored Fonepad is an honest-to-goodness product. Confused? I don’t blame you.
The PadFone is an Android-powered smartphone that physically docks into a larger tablet enclosure. The Fonepad, on the other hand, is a 7-inch Android tablet that can make phone calls. The rumors of Asus releasing an Intel-powered device have come true with the Padfone, as it sports an Atom Z2420 processor, 1GB of RAM, and the requisite 3G wireless radio to make all those tablet calls possible. On the plus side, Asus tends to leave Android alone for the most part, and the particular Android 4.1 build that’s loaded on the Fonepad seems similarly unfettered.
If it sounds novel, well, it’s really not — Samsung baked similar voice call functionality into its Galaxy Note 8.0, and to my surprise it actually worked really well. Whether or not Asus will be able to provide a similarly impressive experience is a question I can’t answer until I track down a Fonepad for some more hands-on testing, but the price is certainly right. The Fonepad is slated to launch this April in the UK with a €219 price tag, but Asus also offered a price in U.S. dollars ($249 to be precise). It’s too early to call that a confirmation for an eventual U.S. launch (especially considering that Samsung will likely excise the voice call feature from the U.S. Note 8.0 model), but it’s enough to make you hope at least.