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Asus Drops Plans For UK Launch Of Seven-Inch Tablet

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The Asus 7 inch tablet will not be hitting UK shores after an executive said there was no demand for it among Brits

Asus has confirmed that it will not be launching its Android-based seven-inch tablet device in the UK, citing a lack of demand among British customers.

Asus had revealed the seven-inch tablet device to the world’s media at the CES Show in Las Vegas earlier this week. It said it would be powered by quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, the same unit that powers its 10.1-inch Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

The seven-inch tablet would cost in the region of $249 (£163), compared to the $499/£312 (32GB) to $599/£374 (64GB) for the Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

No UK Launch

However, Asus then revealed in an interview with the Inquirer, that the UK would not be seeing this seven inch tablet.

The decision to not launch the seven inch device comes after Dell discontinued its seven inch Streak tablet in December, although it does plan its own tablet resurrection in late 2012.

“In the UK we don’t see a demand for the seven-inch tablet at the moment and we will be focusing on releasing a Padfone, which is a smartphone and tablet hybrid. This will be formally announced at Mobile World Congress next month,” John Swatton, marketing manager for Asus in the UK was quoted as saying.

“Asus hasn’t sold a branded smartphone in the UK, so there is no user base for 3G devices at present.”

The Padfone essentially combines a smartphone running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and a tablet computer into one symbiotic gadget. This, according to Asus, allows users to choose the screen size that best fits their activities while sharing data and 3G Internet access.The 10-inch Padfone is the highly unusual device that Asus first revealed at the Computex IT conference in Taipei in May 2011.

With the Padfone, the smartphone docks inside the tablet to give users an expanded view. With the phone docked, it can recharge from the tablet’s larger battery and the tablet can also make use of the smartphone’s 3G Internet connection.

Unusual Designs

Asus is no stranger to unusual form factors as it seeks to tackle the tablet gorilla, namely Apple’s iPad.

Asus is probably best recognised because for its netbook heritage after it introduced its tiny Asus Eee PC netbooks back in 2007. Measuring just 9.1 inches by 6.7 inches, those early netbooks weighed about 0.9 kg (2 lb) and featured a seven-inch display, and a custom version of Linux.

The company still produces open source netbooks, and also has recently introduced a couple of ultrabooks as well.

Besides the unusual hybrid Padfone device, Asus is also responsible for the tablet/laptop device with the Eee Pad Transformer. This split personality device is geared up for those wanting a laptop for serious work, a netbook for mobility, and a tablet for show.

The Eee Pad Transformer is a slate-style tablet with a detachable keyboard.

Others consider it to be  a netbook with a detachable screen that acts as an independent tablet – currently, a unique approach that makes the system suitable for business travellers.