It's only been seven months since Asus announced the Padfone Infinity, but a new version of the phone-tablet mash-up is already on the way.
Just like the previous model, the new Padfone Infinity is two devices in one. The 5-inch Android smartphone slides into a 10-inch tablet through a dock on the tablet's back side, with the phone providing all the power for the larger screen.
The new Padfone Infinity packs a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, versus the 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 chip on the original Infinity. Qualcomm has said that the Snapdragon 800 is more power efficient than the Snapdragon 600 while providing faster performance, though Asus hasn't given specifics on battery life for the new Padfone Infinity.
Asus is also cutting down the built-in storage options on the Padfone Infinity, from 32 GB and 64 GB to just 16 GB and 32 GB. To make up for this, Asus has added a microSD card slot to the phone, so users can add a lot more storage on the cheap.
Other specs remain unchanged, Engadget reports. The phone has a 5-inch, 1080p display, 2 GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, NFC, Bluetoooth 4.0, and a 2,400 mAh battery. Asus is shipping the Padfone Infinity with Android 4.2.2, along with some of its own software tweaks such as simpler menus and icons, but the original Infinity should get these software updates as well.
Unfortunately for modular computing fans, Asus has no plans for include a keyboard and trackpad dock, like the one that was available with the original Padfone in 2012. "This was removed due to feedback we had from the original PadFone," Asus wrote on its Facebook page. "While the concept was good it was too bulky for everyday use hence the removal of the keyboard."
Engadget reports that the new Padfone Infinity will cost about $640 for the phone alone, plus about $240 for the tablet dock. Keep in mind, however, that not a single U.S. wireless carrier has sold any previous version of the Padfone, ever. It's hard to see how a beefier processor and microSD card slot will change that.
Asus has previously said that it plans to launch a PadFone product in the United States, but not until 2014. For now, the PadFone Infinity remains an interesting tech concept that you can't get stateside.