Asus Fonepad Phablet Gets Global Launch

by Dale Wright

Asus has released another ‘phablet’ device designed to challenge the iPad mini.

The Taiwanese company will launch the new Fonepad in Japan and India this week, and it is already available in the UK, although some retailers are still taking pre-orders. It’s an important release for the company, because it’s quickly losing its grip on the Japanese market and needs to pull back some market share. At the same time, Apple is gaining ground fast, so Asus really is under pressure to pull something amazing out of the bag.

The Fonepad has a HD IPS display, 1 GB RAM and an Atom Z2420 processor running at 1.2 GHz, specially chosen because it doesn’t use much power. It’ll also include 3G and wifi and is capable of making ordinary telephone calls.The 8 GB model is expect to retail at around £195 and will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. There’s also a 16 GB model.

Asus is in the fortunate position of having partnered with Google on the Nexus 7, a popular choice for Android enthusiasts. Unlike some Android tablets, the Nexus 7 ships with a ‘pure’ version of Android, which some users feel gives it better stability and performance.

Finished in aluminium with a shiny, glossy feel, the Fonepad is aimed at buyers who want the top-quality feel of an expensive tablet but at a lower price. Unlike the Nexus 7, the Fonepad has some Asus software built-in to enhance the Android experience – but the key difference is the ability to make calls on it.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Fonepad is its combination of tablet and smartphone functionality in one box. Not too long ago, the idea of a 7” “phone” seemed ridiculous, but the phablet does seem to be catching on; the Fonepad is just the latest example. Asus is clearly hoping that shoppers will see the appeal of just carrying one device.