Good grief AT&T, there's such a thing as restraint, you know? After launching the Galaxy Tab 3 7-inch and taking online orders for the LG G2 and preorders for the Galaxy Note 3 late last night, Ma Bell has one last device up its metaphorical sleeve: the carrier's first ASUS tablet. The ASUS MeMO Pad FHD LTE 10.0 is now available for order from AT&T's online store and through business channels with free shipping thrown in for good measure.
ASUS re-announced at IFA today a slew of new devices, some of which aren't actually new. We first heard about the Transformer Book Trio back in June when ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih introduced just under a dozen products in under an hour. The Transformer Book Trio is billed as a"three-in-one" ultraportable, though there are only two pieces - a tablet and a keyboard dock. If you're familiar with the ASUS Transformer line of products, there is nothing new about this form-factor.
ASUS is getting into the gigantic phone market in a big way. After their initial offerings in the Fonepad line (that's large, tablet-style phones, not to be confused with the docking Padfone) the company has announced a new model and at IFA in Germany, along with a previously announced but unreleased one. The Fonepad Note 6 (ME560CG) is a conventional "phablet" design, complete with stylus, which we saw back in June.
If you've been following along with ASUS' recent releases, you'll already know what's coming with the MeMO Pad 8 and 10: a couple of budget-friendly tablets sporting screen sizes equivalent to their model names. This duo is brand-spankin'-new and falls right into place in the existing MeMO Pad line.
MeMO Pad 8
The primary difference between the two units is the display size – most other specs are either identical, or very similar.
It has only been a couple of weeks since I wrote about the troubles with multi-touch (well, touch in general) on the 2013 Nexus 7. At the time, Paul Wilcox of Google's Product Support forum stated that the issue was being examined, and about a week later he confirmed that the JSS15Q update addressed the problem. While many people are reporting that the OTA has completely cleared up any touchscreen glitches that had been present, some people haven't seen any improvements, and still others are complaining that the problem has grown significantly worse.
I personally like the idea of a smartphone that docks into a tablet. The ASUS PadFone 2 strives for the joy of both form factors without the hassle of maintaining two separately. Those who happen to own the device have seen a steady stream of updates roll out as the months have gone by. While the latest update may not jump the device past version 4.1, it does usher in a slew of bug fixes and other general improvements.
Good grief, but the people who run eBay's Daily Deals portal really love their Android tablets. After discounts on Nexuses for the last couple of weeks, today we get one of ASUS' flagship tablets at a significant discount. A refurbished Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T (the Tegra 3 model from 2012) is going for just $289.99 with free shipping. That's $210 off the current retail price.
The bad news is that it's a refurbished tablet.
It took an annoyingly long time for ASUS' official case for the original Nexus 7 to become available, and even when it did, it wasn't all that great. For the 2013 version ASUS has created two cases: a travel case, which is made of a soft plastic material like the older "official" case, and a premium case, with a hard plastic outer shell, foldable cover/stand, and microfiber interior. This more functional case is now shipping from at least two Amazon vendors.
The new Nexus 7 is pretty awesome in all respects, and it should be right at the top of your list if you're looking for a 7-inch tablet. But if your budget won't stretch up to $230, ASUS has a more low-end model that's perfectly respectable. The Memo Pad HD7 (ME173X) is an upgrade to last year's budget tablet, and it's up for pre-order at no less than four, count 'em, four US online stores.
Update: Well, it seems someone at Google was a bit confused, as LTE has been added back to the European specification of the new Nexus 7, including band 20. Crisis averted.
The last generation of Nexus devices was stuck with HSPA+ mobile data, but with the new N7 Google has stepped into the 4G world. However, it seems like that world may be smaller than we previously thought. The specification page for the Nexus 7 has been tweaked to remove LTE bands from the European version, leaving it with only HSPA+.