Asus Padfone launching early next year?

Remember the Padfone? You've probably got a pretty keen memory then. The smartphone and tablet hybrid was first spotted back in May and has caught the camera now and again since, but launch details have been scarce. However, that could be about to change.

According to Netbooknews, which has it on 'good authority', Asus could be about to show off the finshed item as soon as February 2012 at the Mobile World Congress event. It also adds a couple of juicy details too. First up, the device will pack the quad-core Tegra 3 processor, which should push it ahead of the pack. Also, it will be running Ice Cream Sandwich at launch.

The last point was pretty much as expected. If you missed it first time around, the Padfone, as the name suggests, is a smartphone that turns into a tablet. The 4.3-inch phone slips into the 10-inch tablet frame, when you require something a little larger. That means just one data plan for two devices – which has got to be a good thing. To work across both a tablet and a phone, the operating system was inevitably going to be Ice Cream Sandwich and with a launch in February, it's pretty much perfect timing. The first quarter of 2012 seems to be the time for the influx of first-gen ICS devices.

All the other details are being kept back for that launch event, as you might expect. Asus is no stranger to weird and wonderful devices, so we'll be interested to see if this is one that works in practice when we get hands-on. Not long to wait until we do. Just over two months in fact.

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