Windows Phone 8 continues to gain interest not just from consumers but from hardware makers as well. So far the only “official” Windows Phone 8 phone makers are Samsung, Nokia, HTC and Huawei but Lenovo and LG are also both rumored to soon be joining the group.
Now we hear word of yet another carrier considering giving Windows Phone 8 a go, Asus. Asus is a very strong Windows partner, so such a move wouldn’t be that surprising.
Interesting enough, Asus’ vice president of mobile communications Benson Lin spoke up in a recent Wall Street Journal interview to say that not only is Acer interested in making Windows Phone sometime in the future, but that they also believe that the smartphone/tablet hybrid “makes sense for Windows 8”.
For those that don’t know, Asus already has such a device in the Android world, known as the PadFone. The unique smartphone “slides” into a base that gives it a bigger screen and lets it function as a tablet. Need to go more mobile? Sliding it back out and into your pocket is pretty seamless.
The idea of bringing such a combination to Windows 8 is very intriguing, but it also leaves us with quite a few unanswered questions. The biggest is how it would work with Windows technology. For Android, Android is basically the same on tablet as it is on a smartphone.
With Windows, you have Windows Phone 8 for phones and Windows 8/RT for tablets. Would Microsoft allow Asus to create a Windows Phone 8 handset that could also double as Windows Phone 8 tablet? Probably not. Instead perhaps some kind of hybrid effort would be put in place? So WP8 would run when in smartphone mode but would switch to Windows RT when docked into the tablet?
Right now, Asus is involved in the smartphone but largely in countries outside of the United States. Does this mean that even if a cool smartphone/hybrid was released, those in the states would never see? Actually, not necessarily.
Asus is in talks right now to bring many of its Android phones over to US mobile networks, so the same thing could happen if/when they release Windows Phone 8 smartphones as well.
What are the Benefits of a Smartphone/Tablet Hybrid?
Alright– so let’s say that Asus partners with Microsoft to create a special high-end smartphone that stores both Windows Phone 8 and RT inside, but somehow only “activates” RT when docked (maybe RT is stored in a separate flash drive inside the dock?).
The thing arrives on the market. Would you buy it over getting a seperate tablet and smartphone? Personally I think it comes down to price. If you can pick up an Asus WP Smartphone for around $50-$150 with two year contract, and then get a 10-inch Windows RT tablet dock for only around $100-200 more? Sure, might be a good idea.
If the whole thing costs you $750+? Not so much. I’d REALLY love to see Asus try its hand at a smartphone/tablet/laptop hybrid, though I suspect doing so would kind of create a sort of Frankensteinian monster. What do you think, interested in the idea of Asus entering the WP8 smartphone market or not?