Asus has just unveiled their newest smartphone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The FonePad takes the current rage for phablets, smartphones with 5" or larger screens, to its logical conclusion: giving a 7" tablet the ability to make phone calls.
This 7" tablet is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, of course, but not on the usual ARM CPU. Instead the FonePad is running on an Intel Atom Z2420 CPU with the clock speed of 1.2GHz and backed up by 1GB of RAM.
Screen resolution is 1280x800, and in addition to phone and HSPA+ data connectivity this tablet also has Wifi, a noise cancelling microphone, and a 1.2MP camera on the front. In terms of storage this tablet ranks in at a solid mid-field with 16GB of space as well as a microSD card. The battery is rated at 4.2 Ah, and battery life as a tablet is expected to be around 9 hours.
The FonePad is expected to retail for £179 or 219 euros when it hits the European market some time between April and June of this year, and that could be the FonePad's strongest selling point. You average phablet can retail at 400 euros or more. Sure, they're more smartphone like and possibly more polished in terms of software, but the lower cost of the FonePad is going to put it in an entirely different market niche.
And then there's the CPU. I'm going to keep an eye on the FonePad just because of the CPU. The Intel Atom Z2420 is capable of running a full Windows 8, not just the more limited Windows RT, and that means with a little hacking we could have a $250 7" Windows 8 tablet on our hands.