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Asus' dual tablet-smartphone Padfone X Mini comes to the US next week

Asus' dual tablet-smartphone Padfone X Mini comes to the US next week

The Padfone X Mini will first ship on Oct. 23 through AT&T for $199 with a two-year contract

Asus's Padfone X Mini (1)

Asus's Padfone X Mini (1)

Asustek's Padfone X Mini, which can be used either as a smartphone or a tablet, will be available in the U.S. starting next week.

At the heart of the Padfone X Mini is a 4.5-inch LTE smartphone, which can be slid into a companion dock to be used as a tablet. The dock has a 7-inch screen.

The dual-function gadget, which runs on Google's Android 4.4, will be available Oct. 23 from AT&T for US$199 with a two-year mobile contract. Other retailers will start selling the device in November. Asus has not shared information about worldwide availability.

The Padfone X Mini is a smaller version of the Padfone X, which is a 5-inch smartphone that can be used as a 9-inch tablet when docked. But the larger Padfone X has a Qualcomm processor, while the Mini variant has an Intel Clover Trail+ chip, which is close to two years old.

The Padfone X Mini has a 5-megapixel camera. The dock has a second SIM card slot and a battery that can charge the smartphone.

A lot of companies have tried to unite laptops and tablets, but Asus is one of the few to fuse a smartphone and tablet. Motorola in 2011 sold an Atrix 4G smartphone that could dock into a laptop, but the device wasn't widely adopted.

Intel and Asus earlier this year signed an agreement to jointly develop mobile products.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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