It's been a long ride for the PadFone. ASUS' last smartphone was the Android 2.1-powered A10 from two years ago, then five months later the company ended its smartphone partnership with Garmin (though they're still friends). The next thing we knew, the outfit was openly considering Windows Phone, but obviously nothing came to fruition despite its E600 engineering units floating about in the wild. Meanwhile, a bunch of Android Eee Pads started entering the market to get a slice of that hot tablet pie.
Eventually, the PadFone shocked the industry at last year's Computex (remember our brilliant mockup based on the teaser pics?), but ASUS went on to miss its Christmas launch target, allowing it extra time to rejig the phone's software and design. Then CES and MWC went by, with the latter hosting the official launch event to unveil the PadFone's final design and availability date. This time, the new April target was missed by only three weeks, and shortly afterwards we got hold of our retail unit from Taiwan, which is still the only place where you can get hold of the product.
But enough with the story. What we want to know is whether ASUS' courageous and unique project has all the right ingredients to squeeze itself into a market now dominated by the likes of Apple, Samsung and HTC. Most importantly, will the company set a new trend with this two- or three-in-one form factor -- in the same way it did with netbooks -- thus taking the Android ecosystem to the next level? Let's see.