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Asus Debuts $129 Android Tablet

Watch out Google: Asus makes a play to own the entry-level Android tablet space, blurs line between smartphones and tablets.

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Tablet Buying Demystified: 10 Tips
Asus introduced a handful of new devices at the Computex trade show taking place in Taiwan Monday, including a tablet with a 10-inch screen, a tablet with a 7-inch screen and a phablet with a 6-inch screen. With the screen sizes so similar, Asus is further blurring the line between what constitutes a tablet, a phablet and a smartphone. It is also making a play against Google for the entry-level tablet space.

The first tablet, called the MeMo Pad HD7, follows the path set by last year's Nexus 7. The device comes with a 7-inch in-plane switching LCD display with 1280 x 800 pixels. It is powered by a quad-core Cortex A7 processor. The HD7 includes a user-facing 1.2-megapixel camera and the option to add a 5-megapixel main camera, one feature sorely missed on the Nexus 7. The MeMo Pad HD7 has a similar form factor and appearance to last year's device, but will be sold in multiple colors at the low price of just $129 for the 8 GB version and $149 for the 16 GB version. It will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The larger tablet steps things up a bit in terms of specs and performance. The Asus MeMo Pad FHD 10 boasts a 1,920 x 1,200 pixel display, which gives it a better-than-HD resolution. As with Samsung's 10-inch tablet also announced Monday, the MeMo Pad FHD 10 is powered by an Intel 1.6 GHz dual-core Clover Trail+ processor from the Atom series. Score another win for Intel. The device also includes 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS. It offers dual cameras and comes in 16 GB and 32GB variants. Pricing for the MeMo FHD 10 was not revealed. It will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

[ What else popped up at Computex Monday? See Samsung Galaxy Tablet To Use Intel Processor. ]

In addition to the two tablets, Asus introduced a device that's prepared to take on Samsung's Galaxy Note and LG's Optimus G Pro. The Asus FonePad Note includes a pocket-busting 6.0-inch 1080p full HD display. That bests both the Note II and G Pro by half an inch.

The FonePad is powered by a 1.6 GHz Z2560 Clover Trail Atom processor that is paired with 2 GB of RAM. Other features of the FonePad Note include a stylus for interacting with applications on the screen, dual front speakers, and of course Wi-Fi, HSPA+, Bluetooth and GPS, but no LTE. It offers an 8-megapixel main camera and a 1.2-megapixel user-facing camera, as well. It will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The MeMo Pad HD7 and FDH 10 will both be available in July. Availability of the FonePad Note wasn't immediately revealed. The two tablets will likely be sold in the U.S. through select electronics retailers but the FonePad probably won't be.

Asus is clearly looking to own the entry-level tablet space. The Nexus 7, sold by Google, was one of the best Android tablet deals for 2012. With such a low price point, the HD7 will surely be a hit with budget-minded shoppers. The FHD 10's success will depend a lot on its price. Asus doesn't have a lot of wiggle room, but if it keeps the cost to under $299, it has a fighting chance against devices such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 8 and Tab 3 10.1.

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User Rank: Apprentice
6/4/2013 | 2:13:14 AM
re: Asus Debuts $129 Android Tablet
For a tablet with 3G HSPA+ wireless connection, the HD-89 Mini launched June 1st, also available through T ablet Sprint, and is the first 7-inch Android tablet with an HD 1280x800 display and two built-in SIM slots for both Internet and Voice calling connection through any GSM carrier, including AT&T and T-Mobile. The HD-89 Mini 3G is priced at $237 and offers Android 4.2, a Quad Core processor, as well as one of the largest battery capacities of any 7-inch tablet, with 4800 mAh; plus features Bluetooth, ideal for wireless headsets to use the tablet like a phone device, along with Built-in GPS, a MicroSD memory card slot, Wifi, a front 1-MegaPixel Webcam and a Rear 8-MegaPixel Camera, and Google Play preinstalled. Its dual SIM card slots serve as an added convenience for access to more than one phone number, as well as a nice way to avoid excess roaming charges by adding inexpensive SIM cards typically available for temporary service with other wireless carriers when traveling abroad.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/4/2013 | 2:07:52 AM
re: Asus Debuts $129 Android Tablet
One other budget priced tablet to launch this week worth a look is the new Novo 8 Discovery tablet by Ainol Electronics -- which is priced at $169 at T a b le t Sp r i n t-- and compares in size to the current iPad mini and this new model matches most features of the upcoming Acer Iconia A1 but with a more competitive price and features, that include a more powerful battery (5000 mAh) and twice the Memory... and features a Quad Core processor, WiFi and Bluetooth 3.0... and is also one of the first Android tablets to offer Miracast HD Wireless capability, which is similar to Apple's $100 AirPlay system to provide wireless connection to any HDTV with high resolution 1080p HD -- ideal for streaming movies (including NetFlix), and to play 3G games on a Big Screen TV using the tablet as a motion control device, as well as to display any other tablet and web content in HD... essentially turning an HDTV into a multimedia console--
User Rank: Author
6/3/2013 | 6:20:25 PM
re: Asus Debuts $129 Android Tablet
$129 sounds appealing but it will be interesting to see how durable these tablets are. At that price they are going to be handed to -- and dropped by -- many kids.

Laurianne McLaughlin
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