Asus is asking $US250 for consumers to own the new Intel Atom-powered FonePad, another entry in the growing tablet breed that also delivers phone functions.
It's some sort of a jump for the Taiwanese firm following its relatively successful collaboration with Google last year, which produced the powerful and affordable Nexus 7 that sells at starting price of $US200.
So why pay $US50 more over the Asus 2012 masterpiece that delivered Full HD display at 7-inch screen with a quad-core A9 Cortex CPU under the hood humming at top-speed of 1.2GHz plus a dedicated GPU? That is of course the Nexus 7.
It seems Asus is firmly convinced that Intel's Atom Z2420 that clocks at 1.2GHz with 1GB of RAM, a PowerVR GX540 GPU, a 1280 x 800 screen resolution, 16GB of internal memory and a sleek aluminium body-build are specs worth the money.
It's light, it's slim, it's Android at JellyBean 4.1 and it might be winner but when compared to the best of them out there the FonePad is in for a tough competition.
First off, Apple's iPad Mini is a runaway winner so it is more appropriate to compare the new Asus small tablet to the so-called second-tiers.
When colliding with Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, for instance, Asus' slate will find it hard to outsell the modestly performing device. Note that this tablet can also place and receive phone calls plus it flashes the Samsung pedigree. A tough nut to crack indeed for the FonePad, experts would say.
And against the Galaxy Note 8.0 that Samsung debuted this week, the FonePad's inferiority will be highlighted further. having to tussle with a slate that is able to process multi-tasking with ease while humming away at top speed of 1.6GHz on an Exynos chip.
The suitable match would have been HP's newly-unveiled Slate 7. But the way it is packed is something to ponder for Asus marketing strategists: With a dual-core A9 chip that speeds up to 1.6GHz max, the slate from the PC giant is a steal at $US170.
To keep $80 more and enjoy a faster device is difficult for Asus to keep pace with the Slate 7. After all, its new slab is at best a decent stab on its Nexus 7 success, experts said, though this time Asus overshot the pricing estimates.
Experts welcome the fact that Intel is now playing the tablet game thanks to Asus but the platform it chose seems ill-fitting at the moment. It will not gain ground with consumers shunning the product.
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