While I and numerous fellow tech bloggers remain skeptical as to any real-life use of a 7-inch tablet with voice call support, it appears Asus has reasons to believe in Fonepad’s success. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be much of a point in preparing a rehash of the first-gen tablet phone phablet just months after the initial release.
The follow-up is to be marketed as Fonepad HD and seems to be carrying the model number ME372CG (the first is also known as ME371MG). Though not yet official, the slate is very likely closing in on its commercial release and could be up for grabs as soon as early September.
Unlikely to every make its way to American shores, the Fonepad HD is already listed by a number of online retailers on the old continent. The spec sheet has pretty big holes in it with all of these sellers, but at least the pricing doesn’t appear to be an enigma anymore.
On the other hand, an official MSRP is still hard to guess. The lowest you can hope to score the 7-incher is probably €200, which is roughly $265, while one particular Swiss-based retailer is expected to ask as much as €232 ($309) for it.
Considering that the ME371MG goes for around €230 in most European countries nowadays, that doesn’t sound all too bad, especially given that the ME372CG will come with a couple of improvements and performance enhancements.
For one thing, the 1.2 GHz Intel Atom Z2420 CPU will be replaced by a considerably faster 1.6 GHz Z2560 unit. Also, there will be a superior 5 MP camera slapped on Fonepad HD’s back, plus pre-loaded Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. That’s not exactly Nexus 7 material, but it’s plenty for €200.