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Asustek's Padfone to use new version of Android OS

2011/08/10 22:21:44

Taipei, Aug. 10 (CNA) Asustek Computer Inc. said Wednesday that its upcoming device, the Padfone, will run the next version of Google Inc.'s Android operating system, codenamed "Ice Cream Sandwich" (ICS), but the company appeared to be uncertain about the future of its mobile phone business.

The Padfone, which will go on sale at the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2012, allows users to display pictures or videos on a 10.1-inch tablet from a 4.3-inch smartphone seamlessly and to extend the battery life of the phone when the two are combined.

"We chose the ICS because of its better integration across different platforms," Alex Sun, corporate vice president and general manager of Asustek's personal mobile devices BU, told reporters on the sidelines of a media briefing to promote the local development of mobile apps.

The ICS, slated to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, will improve the interoperability among these devices, allowing app developers to achieve higher synergy, according to market analysts.

Sun said Asustek also plans to launch the second generation of the Padfone in the first half of 2012, which is expected to support long-term evolution (LTE) wireless broadband technology and three-dimensional (3D) graphics.

However, Asustek will not launch any new phones by the end of this year because the company needs to "think about the future direction of its mobile phone business" after a shift in Asustek's strategy for its smartphone lines, Sun added.

Last October, Asustek, which has been selling smartphones under the Garmin-Asus brand since early 2009, said it will not introduce any more co-branded handset models.

Instead, Asustek launched two new smartphones in China in March this year running on China Mobile's Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA) network, with the aim of attracting entry and mid-level smartphone users in the booming Chinese market.

The Taiwan-based PC brand sold about 1 million smartphones worldwide last year, but the company has declined to give a forecast for its total smartphone sales in 2011.

(By Jeffrey Wu)