Published: February 12, 2013 3:22 PM
By Romain Thuret
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
Hybrid devices are becoming something of a trademark for Asus. This time the firm has taken the recipe for the successful Nexus 7 tablet it made for Google and added mobile phone capabilities to the mix. Hey presto—here's the 7" FonePad!

Asus Fonepad
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The success of the Nexus 7 has clearly given Asus ideas about taking the concept further. Without Google this time, the Taiwanese tech manufacturer has cooked up a new 7" device that turns the firm's existing PadFone on its head—flipping both the concept and the name around. So while the PadFone is a smartphone that slots into a tablet, the upcoming FonePad is a 7" tablet that can also be used as a smartphone. News of this incoming phablet has leaked onto the web ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade fair, due to open on 25 February in Barcelona. 

asus fonepad

Under its 7" IPS screen, the FonePad doesn't run on the tried-and-tested Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, instead using a new 1.2 GHz Intel Lexington chip (Atom Z2420, hyper-threading with one physical core and one logical core). It has 1 GB of RAM and a PowerVR SGX540 graphics processor. The FonePad is likely to be sold with 8, 16 or 32 GB of memory and there's a microSD card slot on hand to boost storage—something you don't get with the Nexus 7. There's a 3-Megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.2-Megapixel front-facing webcam for video chat. The battery is announced at 4270 mAh.

This new entry-level FonePad (rumours point to a price tag of $300 or less) effectively backs the Asus tablet range into close contact with the latest outsized high-end smartphones—at least six major handsets are now sporting screens over 5" in size (e.g. Sony Xperia Z, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Huawei Ascend Mate).
 
Asus isn't the first firm to bring phone capabilities to the tablet, however, as some of you may remember that Samsung's first Galaxy Tab touchscreen tablet also came with phone functions. Since then, call capabilities have pretty much disappeared from the tablet market. Maybe the world just wasn't ready for the phablet yet.

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