The 2013 Mobile World Congress kicked off on Monday, Feb. 25, and Asus launched the innovation game by inverting the name of an old product to make a new one.
Asus officially revealed its FonePad on the expo's first day: a 7-inch HD tablet that also happens to feature built-in phone functionality. If you've been craving a tablet that makes phone calls, you now have an extra option to consider alongside Samsung's Galaxy Note 8.0. Although the idea of holding a tablet up to your face as you make a phone call may sound ridiculous, plenty of people do seem excited about the prospect.
"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, in a press release. "The incorporation of 3G mobile data with full telephony support makes the Fonepad a perfect combination of tablet and phone in one single device."
Outside of 3G mobile phone capability, the FonePad sports Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, a 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2420 processor, 1GB of RAM, 10-point multi-touch and 16GB of storage space. If that's not enough, the tablet's microSD slot can support up to 32GB extra. A 3-megapixel rear camera, 1.2-megapixel front camera and a battery life of nine hours round out the rest of the features.
"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."
No U.S. release date is confirmed yet, but Asus did relay a $249 price point.
Also Monday, Asus announced the PadFone Infinity, the third iteration of the company's PadFone phablet. The 5-inch phone features a 1080p HD display, Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7GHz processor, a 13-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 64 GB of built-in storage and extra 50GB more of Cloud storage supplied by Asus.