They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but every rule has an exception, right? In this particular case the exception being Asus, the “old dog” that’s learned quite a few new tricks after the Nexus 7 partnership with Google.
The number one lesson Google taught Asus is there’s money in cheap gadgets too and sometimes there’s actually more money there if you know how to hit the perfect price spot. The MemoPad 7 and 10 are the first attempts at putting that plan into action post-Nexus 7, but it appears there’s another affordable Asus tab in the pipeline and planned for an MWC intro.
Nothing too shocking so far, but here’s where our report takes a turn for the bizarre – the upcoming Asus 7-incher is going to be called the Fonepad K004. And it’s going to be Intel-powered.
None of this is official yet, but everything checks out. The featuring of an Intel CPU was actually leaked before, when the tablet was known as the ME371MG, while the Fonepad branding has been spotted in Postel Indonesia’s database.
Now, how weird is that name? Not to mention confusing. After all, Asus has a Padfone and Padfone 2 around, and, despite the hybrid duo not being awfully successful, people know about them. So, Fonepad and Padfone? It doesn’t sound very smart, but hey, what do we know about marketing?
Moving on to the spec sheet. Which supposedly includes a 7-inch IPS display with 1,280 x 800 pixels resolution, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of on-board storage, a 3 MP camera, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS support and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Everything sounds nice and dandy, but let’s get back to the Intel SoC for a moment. Rumor has it we’ll be dealing with the new Atom Z2420 “Lexington” chip, but is that the ideal choice? We still know very little about the platform when it comes to real life performance, but in theory it doesn’t sound too hot.
Intel is marketing the CPU as a battery-saving one targeted mostly for emerging markets, but that’s just fancy talk for sub-par performance. Or not and we’re just being paranoid. In which case the leaked THB 7,900 ($265) price would also make sense, because we have to say that’s not exactly what people have in mind nowadays when hearing about “budget-friendly” 7-inchers.
Oh, right, one more thing. According to some “sources”, the Asus Fonepad K004 will also come with calling facilities, which would partly excuse the weird branding. But only partly, because we still think it’s a bad idea to have two very different devices with so similar names.
What do you guys think? Would you be interested in a Fonepad with an Intel Lexington chip inside and voice call support? Or is the whole story just a big farce and there’s no new 7-incher prepped by Asus for MWC?