We already knew ASUS was prepping a product called the FonePad, a 7-inch tablet with built-in phone functionality (yes, just like the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0). Well, ASUS just formally unveiled it here at Mobile World Congress, which means we've got a few more details to share than we did previously. First off, the speculation about its specs was all true: this does indeed have an Intel processor -- a 1.2GHz Atom Z2420, to be exact -- along with 1GB of RAM, a PowerVR SGX540 GPU, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and an HSPA+ radio. What's more, the 4,270mAh battery is said to get up to nine hours of runtime, which would put this in the same league as other Atom tablets we've tested recently.
In terms of hardware features, the FonePad has a smooth metal back (available in gray and gold), making it drastically different in appearance from the similarly sized Nexus 7. 'Round back you'll find a panel where all the usual antennae are, and hidden underneath are both the micro-SIM slot and the microSD reader. That microSD slot, by the way, supports 32GB cards, which should come in handy considering this has just 16GB of built-in storage. Additionally, the tablet has a 1.2-megapixel front camera, attached to a 7-inch, 1,280 x 800 IPS display.
The FonePad will be available in Europe for £179 / €219. Here at MWC, ASUS also confirmed a US dollar price of $249, though we had heard rumblings it wouldn't actually be sold there. It arrives in March, but the specific on-sale date hasn't been revealed yet. We're hoping to test one ourselves soon enough, but until then, stay tuned for the usual round of hands-on shots.
Update: Our hands-on photos and video are in! Enjoy!
ASUS FonePad hands-on
Andy Yang and Richard Lai contributed to this report.
ASUS Announces Fonepad™
ASUS' latest mobile lifestyle device features built-in 3G for fast mobile data and full telephony support along with the versatility and power of a 7" tablet
Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Spain (25th February, 2013) - ASUS today announced Fonepad™, a competitively priced handheld with 3G voice and mobile data for all the features of a smartphone, with the versatility of a 7-inch tablet. Powered by a new Intel® Atom™ Z2420 processor with Android 4.1, Fonepad™ features a vibrant HD display with IPS technology for wide viewing angles and outstanding clarity.
"It is ideal to have a larger screen with entertainment, social media and other online activities now playing an increasingly important part in our mobile lifestyles," said Jonney Shih, ASUS Chairman. "The incorporation of 3G mobile data with full telephony support makes the Fonepad™ a perfect combination of tablet and phone in one single device."
"Extending our long history of collaboration, including most recently on the Ultrabook™ and Intel-based tablets, we are very excited to be partnering with ASUS again," said Hermann Eul, Intel® vice president and co-general manager of the Mobile and Communications Group. "Intel's new Atom™ Z2420 processor delivers the power, performance and flexibility required to accommodate a range of devices and market needs. We think the ASUS Fonepad™ is a very innovative device in an emerging category of 3G tablets with telephony features."
Beautiful metallic design with Intel® Atom™ performance
ASUS Fonepad™ is ideal for people who value both the voice communication features of a smartphone and the entertainment opportunities afforded by a tablet, but prefer the convenience of carrying just one device. Fonepad™ is a sleek and compact tablet with a metallic design that can be held comfortably in one hand, thanks to its light 340g weight and slim 10.4mm profile. Powered by the latest Intel® Atom™ Z2420 processor with full Android compatibility, Fonepad™ features a perfect balance of performance and energy efficiency, with hardware-accelerated 1080p Full HD video decoding and up to nine hours of battery life.
The 7-inch screen features 10-point multi-touch, and a crisp 1280 x 800 HD resolution for crisp, readable web page text and incredibly detailed photos. IPS technology ensures vibrant color with 178-degree wide viewing angles, and images that are clear and bright, even outdoors.
Built-in 3G for mobile data and voice calls
Built-in 3G with HSPA+ mobile data means ASUS Fonepad™ is an always-connected mobile device for seamless web browsing, fast downloads from Google Play Store, and smooth streaming of audio and video. Thanks to its full 3G telephony support, Fonepad™ can also be used for voice calls using the built-in noise-cancelling digital microphone or a Bluetooth headset. With just one mobile data plan to pay for, running costs are also much lower than those of a separate smartphone and 3G tablet.
Fonepad™ will be available in the UK with 16GB of internal storage and up to 32GB of additional storage with a microSD card. All models feature a front 1.2-megapixel camera for easy video chat and ASUS SonicMaster audio technology with MaxxAudio 3 processing by Waves ensures clear, well-rounded sound quality.
Exclusive ASUS apps and accessories for greater productivity
ASUS Fonepad™ comes with a number of exclusive ASUS productivity apps: Floating App for easy management of running apps and multi-tasking; SuperNote Lite for handwritten notes and drawing; and WebStorage Office Online for Microsoft Office-compatible document editing on the move. Fonepad™ users also get 5GB of free lifetime ASUS WebStorage for syncing and sharing data with other devices.
Two new optional accessories are also available for Fonepad™. Available in four different colors, VersaSleeve 7 is a wraparound cover with a folding design that both protects Fonepad™ and props up the screen in two different positions for typing and watching video. Turn Case is a lightweight hard-shell case for Fonepad™ that features a soft interior to keep the screen clean and a built-in stand that places the screen at a perfect angle for watching video.
*Specifications may vary without prior notice. Options, pricing, performance and availability dependent upon region. For more details about the product mentioned in this press release, please visit http://press.asus.com .
AVAILABILITY & PRICING - UK
ASUS Fonepad™ and accessories will be available in the UK late Q2 2013. Prices start from SRP £179 (inc VAT) for the 16GB Fonepad. VersaSleeve costs £19.99 and Turn Case £39.99 (both SRP inc VAT). Exact pricing and specifications will be confirmed closer to launch.