Engadget has been doing a “How Would You Change” series for a long time. Usually, they ask about products I really could care less about. Last night, they asked about one that does stroke the smiles in me – the Asus Padfone (1st gen). I liked a lot about the Padfone, and to some degree still want one. I thought it good to talk about what could be changed about it – and not sign up for an account on Engadget to do it (ew)
Here’s the answer as I would have posted it:
Love the concept with the Padfone, and that they were able to address a number of things, and omit many others, for version 2 is also something to take note of. If I were to make changes to the original though, it would be:
- use a different OS (was pulling for MeeGo to do this concept first; still have dreams of it… ahem, Jolla)
- addition of other kinds of docks, such as speaker/home entertainment, TV/monitor (plug phone in, maybe not entire tablet), and a scaled UI to match those modes
- better, or something like more context-aware connecting to transport/automotive applications (connect to MirrorLink get a muted UI on phone, stylus turns to speaker mode, auto display shows what was on mobile, etc)
- price; not that it was too high, it was just too hard to make the call for this at about $1100 for the whole package. I think that if they could have capped it at $1000USD, that would have been better. Still, its a heck of a deal.
- more mobiles from Asus which would have fit into the dock. That would have made for a more expensive tablet/laptop section, but it would have broadened the market for the concept
I can actually see this concept going even further. For example, getting the module down to the size of a large watch face, and then sliding that into a jacket that can then scale up to mobile, tablet, laptop, transport, and even medical contexts. [end comment]
I really applaud Asus for doing the Padfone though. In this market, there are really just too many reproductions of the slab, with a really lackluster attempt at differentiation in the software. Its good to see a company that has some decent hardware leanings take a chance on it – even if the country that seems to make the most noise about mobile innovation can’t seem to find a common or loud enough opinion on it for it to make a dent into sales and activities here.
Side note: if there are some Asus PR folks reading this, I’d love to talk with you about getting my hands on a Padfone or Padfone 2 to review. I live on my mobile, and such a usage case would lend to someone not just getting up thoughts, but having the kind of opinion that goes a long way towards addressing daily usability items that are usually just heard of from the edges of the discussion of the product. Then also, I’m USAmerican, so me being my mobile-only self with it will totally not be the normal case of those who look at this, but can be the normal case of a market that could do a lot with it if they knew it existed.