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Asus Expected To Unveil Fonepad Phablet At MWC 2013

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Asus is to enhance its mobile device portfolio with the expected unveiling of an Intel-powered phablet device

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Asus is expected to reveal a brand new phablet device later this month at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona.

According to Digitimes, the 7-inch Asus Fonepad will run Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and will be powered by a Intel Atom 1.2GHz Z242 processor.

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Product Specs

Asus of course already makes the Nexus 7 device, and last month also began offering a budget 7-inch MeMO Pad costing just $149 (£93). However the Digitimes report hints that Asus will price the new Phablet slightly above that of the MeMO Pad, roughly around the $199 (£126) to $249 (£158) region.

The Fonepad, according to ‘players in the upstream supply chain’, will ship with a 1280×800 IPS touch screen, 1GB RAM and either 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of storage. This will be coupled with a 3-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera.

Connectivity will come via support for 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, housed within an aluminium body sporting Intel branding, according to leak photos on PhoneArena.com.

That report suggests the Fonepad will come with a 4,270mAh battery, which should deliver 9.5 hours of continuous use. It also reported that the Fonepad will be 10.4 millimeters thick, roughly the same as a Google Nexus 7.

Phablets are a newish form factor that tends to blend the various elements of a phone and tablet. Perhaps the most well known example of this device is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2, which has proved to be popular seller for the South Korean electronics giant.

Quirky Designs

Asus of course is well known for pushing the design envelope for years now with its product portfolio.

Asus Padfone displayThis is evidenced by devices such as its Padfone, which is essentially a smartphone that can be plugged into a tablet to bring it to life, in situations when a bigger screen and more battery power would be an advantage. A keyboard add-on in turn changes the Padfone into a laptop. The Asus Transformer is another unusual tablet device.

But the company is perhaps  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 Asus Fonepad is a more conventional design, and reportedly should go on sale in Q2 of 2013. However it is not clear at this stage whether it will reach UK shores, especially after Asus opted not to launch its Android-based seven-inch tablet device in the UK back in January 2012, citing a lack of demand among British customers.

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