By Jimmie Geddes email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 25, 2013 12:27 PM EST
A new type of mobile device coming out of Mobile World Congress is not a new smartphone or a new tablet, it's a hybrid of both. ASUS just announced its 7-inch FonePad with phone functionality built in.
We've been seeing a trend in the smartphone world with phablets. The 5+ inch smartphones got that name due to being a cross between a smartphone and a tablet. It appears the new theme going at Mobile World Congress is full-sized tablets with phone functionality built in. ASUS is the second company to announce such a device, the ASUS FonePad 7-inch tablet.
Samsung was the first tablet maker to launch a tablet with built-in phone functionality, its Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, which also debuted at Mobile World Congress. Samsung was the first smartphone manufacturer to launch a phablet when it launched the original Samsung Galaxy Note. Smartphone makers saw the success Samsung was having with this new category and many have followed and launched their own phablets. ASUS' FonePad will join Samsung in this new category of mobile devices: full-sized tablets with phone functionality built-in.
The ASUS FonePad features a 7-inch 1,280 x 800 IPS (in plane switching display), an Intel Atom 1.2GHz Z2420 processor, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 16GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, 3-megapixel rear camera, 1.2-megapixel front facing camera, microSD slot with support for up to 32GB cards and 4,270 mAh battery.
ASUS announced pricing for the tablet as $249 when it launches in the U.S. and €219 in the UK. ASUS has not revealed when the FonePad will ship, or if the U.S. version will have phone functionality disabled. Samsung has already confirmed that its Galaxy Note 8.0 will ship in the U.S. with phone functionality disabled; rumors have indicated that Samsung was urged by U.S. carriers to disable phone functionality in the U.S. version of the Galaxy Note 8.0.
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