The Verge: Ausus PadFone – Taking the phone / tablet debate to a new level

August 9th, 2012

The PadFone is the evolution of the idea brought to market by the Motorola Atrix. Your phone acts as the hub for all your apps, all your files and data, and it plugs into and powers a series of modular pieces that make certain things easier. The actual “PadFone” is a cell phone, but the PadFone package includes a way to turn your phone into a tablet, your tablet into a laptop… and your stylus into a phone.

After spending time with the PadFone, I believe more than ever that it’s the future. Maybe not the PadFone specifically, but at least its concept: your phone as the hub of all your data, files, and apps, and pieces available to you for your particular needs. If you’re mobile, just bring the phone. Need to answer a lot of emails? Drop it into the dock and type away. Want to watch a movie? Connect the PadFone Station and enjoy a much larger, more shareable screen. Android 4.0 is much more able to handle this kind of use than any previous version, and the PadFone’s internals are largely up to the task as well.

The PadFone nails the idea, but misses on the execution to the point where it feels more like a tech demo than a viable product. There are enough performance issues and app interface problems that I began to avoid using the PadFone as a tablet, and even the phone itself has some underwhelming specs for a supposedly high-end device. I want badly to be able to ditch my laptop, set up a dock at work and a tablet at home, and just carry my phone everywhere knowing I can get done whatever needs doing. The PadFone hints that we’re not far from that day, but proves conclusively that it’s not here yet.