Asus makes one of the best budget tablets on the market today, the Google Nexus 7. It’s a 7 inch tablet with a quad-core processor, a 1280 x 800 pixel display and a starting price of $199 US. But it’s not available in all parts of the globe.

Now the folks at iafrica report that Asus is preparing to launch a 7 inch tablet in South Africa. But it’s no Nexus 7.

Google Nexus 7 music
Google Nexus 7

The tablet is reportedly called the ME-172V and it features a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel capacitive touchscreen display, a WonderMedia WM8950 processor, ARM Mali 400 graphics, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage.

The tablet will have a front-facing 1MP camera, a 4270mAh battery, and a microSD card slot.

It’s expected to ship in early 2013 and feature Android Jelly Bean… although it’s not clear if that means Android 4.1 or Android 4.2

ALl told, it sounds like a much cheaper device than the Nexus 7 which has a faster CPU, a better screen, and more storage. But according to iafrica, the Asus ME-172V will sell for about 2000 Rand in South Africa. That’s the equivalent of $226.

To be fair, I have no idea what a typical Android tablet costs in South Africa. This price may be very competitive in that country. But the tablet still seems like a bit of a step backward for Asus.

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2 replies on “Asus to launch a cheap(ish) 7 inch tablet in South Africa?”

  1. If I was living in S.A I would be offended by Asus.

    They must think that these specs are good enough for S.A’s consumers… At the same price (if this price is including taxes) than a much better N7.

    It’s even more low cost than the Memo they wanted to sell a year ago (before Google ‘hijacked’ the project).

    If the price was $1500 p.a, I wouldn’t see any reason to complain. But here…

    Yet, as Brad noticed, we don’t know much about this market (thanks Guy for sharing your experience and giving us some info) and how OEMs usually behave there, in terms of pricing and specs.

  2. I’m from South Africa. I think it will be a tough sell. For the device to gain traction it must target the low-end of the market so the price-point is interesting for a number of reasons. Consider that the per-capita income is about $11000 p.a, and that this country has one of the highest Gini indexes in the world the target market must be earning vastly little. Combine that with a generally a under-educated economically struggling population and the fact that “Blackberry” has about 70% of the smartphone market you’re looking at a market unlike the USA or some first-world country. Now I’m no an economist but I’ve tried selling a few tablets myself and what I’ve learned from it is that unless you can bring them a cheap well-built tablet, and this is key, that has integrated 3G connectivity you are not going to move many units. ADSL is still incredibly expensive and only about 13% of us have internet access anyway. For those us who have uncapped internet and 3G access and are looking to buy a tablet, an iPad on credit seems attractive but is still seen as a “gadget”. The main motivating factor in acquiring a tablet is still entertainment (movies, music) and education. All things that require very good battery life and a big screen.

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