Asus have announced the PadFone 2, a comprehensive upgrade to the original PadFone device which at it's core offered the ability to dock a phone into a 'PadFone station' tablet, thereby avoiding the pitfalls of component - and most importantly - data duplication between multiple devices.
The original PadFone featured a Dual Core Qualcomm S4 CPU with 1GB RAM and a lovely 4.3" qHD Super AMOLED screen. The successor boosts these specs while sticking to the same formula - it has a Quad Core Qualcomm S4 CPU, 2GB RAM and a 4.7" Super IPS+ 720P screen protected by Corning Fit Glass. The camera is bumped to a borderline ridiculous 13-megapixel item with a 100 shot burst mode which can also take six shots per second while simultaneously recording 1080p HD video at 30fps, or 720p HD video at 60fps. Low-light performance is enhanced by the f/2.4 aperture and a dedicated image signal processor a-la-HTC ImageSense.
Unlike it's predecessor, the PadFone 2 will be available with LTE connectivity and also includes NFC support.
The biggest downside of the original device was probably it's size and weight and in this regard, Asus have gone to town. The PadFone 2 phone and station comes in at only 649g, which Asus claim is lighter than most tablets on the market. The dock mechanism has been redesigned to remove the 'flap' (which never felt that great) which both improves the docking experience and reduces thickness. The decrease in size of the overall unit isn't at the expense of battery life. The 2140mAh battery in the phone provides up to 16 hours 3G talk-time and 13 hours Wi-Fi web browsing, while the station's 5000mAh battery gives up to 36 hours 3G talk-time.
So the phone itself has truly leading edge specs, the station is far more desirable and the battery life should still be epic. One of the greatest benefits of the PadFone has always been the ability to use the Station and when finished, undock a fully charged phone and that will still be the case. The original device also included the option to add in a Transformer-style keyboard for an even bigger battery, unfortunately that's not possible with version 2... users will only have the option of a Bluetooth keyboard.
The PadFone 2 will be launched before the end of December in Europe (Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden) and Asia (Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and U.A.E). Availability in other countries (including the UK) will be announced at a later date.