ASUS’ Padfone targets Christmas launch, could be with an Ice Cream Sandwich :

I just got to spend some quality time with ASUS’ newly unveiled Padfone and you can see the smart phone that doubles up as a tablet on video after the break. It’s still a mere mockup for now, but ASUS has big plans for it — plans that coalesce around the Christmas period and the very latest version of Android at that time. ASUS Corporate Vice President, Benson Lin, was careful not to openly admit the company intends to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, but he did point out that you can’t launch a smart phone with Honeycomb as the OS. I was encouraged to draw my own conclusions.

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The smart phone is actually the only smart aspect of this hardware pair — the slate part acts as a display, a set of speakers, an extended battery, and an I/O extender, but it doesn’t work by itself. ASUS also tells us there’ll be other functionality enabled by the tablet panel, but that’s being kept under wraps for now. Compatibility between the display dock and subsequent phone generations is being contemplated but couldn’t be confirmed, and as to the UI, ASUS says it’ll be almost the same as its second-gen Android tablets. You heard that right, second generation ASUS Android tablets — to succeed the Transformer and Slider — will be coming around the same time as the Padfone.

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