When the original Padfone was announced I was amazed. And I know I was not the only one. I thought that will be my next phone/tablet – I’ll have a regular smartphone with the tablet “option” jumping in only in certain situations when I want to watch a movie or do some research (when the extra screen estate is extra appreciated). However, by the time the keyboard dock was unveiled (which I loved0, the Padfone was no longer a high-end smartphone and I lost my interest. That, however, didn’t mean I could still get one – it was still not available in most parts of the world.
In 2012, Asus unveiled the Padfone 2. Again, an amazing product when it was unveiled. Then at CES we’ve seen many awesome phones which may not have the tablet shell, but they were better on many levels, boasting 5-inch full HD screens, something even the “tablet part” of the Padfone 2 doesn’t support yet. And guess what… Padfone 2 is still not widely available and where you can get one, it costs a small fortune. Plus, the keyboard dock is still not announced.
Simple search on Google Shopping returns an average price of $750-$800 for a smartphone with a tablet dock — the same cash gets you Nexus 4 AND Nexus 10. And here’s where I get to my point… the tablet shell (as opposed to a full tablet) should make a combo device like Asus Padfone more affordable option which is obviously not the case here. After all, there’s no CPU, GPU, memory, radios and all those things included inside the shell. There’s a battery, screen, ports, few other chips which can’t work without the smartphone. And that was the point ASUS was selling us. Perhaps we didn’t understood that such a deal would require a premium, cause it definitely sounded like a reasonably priced option to me.
So why is Asus Padfone 2 (and even the original Padfone) so expensive? Honestly, I’ve no idea. As far as we know, the Taiwanese company doesn’t actually sell a ton of these devices so why not make them more affordable and reach more people? Perhaps they have problems in the supply chain? We can’t tell that from their tablet business, though. Who knows. I only hope that the price of Padfone 2 will quickly drop… or I’ll drop the idea of ever buying any future Padfone, ever. That’s a promise.