Whatever Asus is cooking is starting to bubble to the surface, as blurry, but purportedly official, shots reveal a new 7-inch tablet sans Nexus branding.
Russian retailer ogo1.ru has a listing for the Asus ME172V, complete with the first blurry images of the 7-inch tablet.
The tablet is shown in both black and white, with casing strikingly similar to the Nexus 7. However, the main difference between the Nexus 7 and the ME172V is the latter bears an Asus logo on the back rather than the word Nexus appearing anywhere.
The differences between the ME172V and Nexus 7 become greater when looking under the hood, as the new tablet features a 1024 x 600 resolution display along with 16GB of storage, an 800Mhz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and Android 4.1.
From Russia with specs
The same ME172V tablet model also began appearing on benchmarks around that time, with system specs consistent with the Russian listing.
The ME172V is a step down compared to the Nexus 7, with a 1200 x 800 HD IPS display and Tegra 3 quad-core 1.3Ghz CPU. However, if priced appropriately the ME172V could prove to be an excellent budget tablet option
The Russian shop lists the ME172V as available for pre-order for 6,990 rubles (US $226, UK £140, AU $217), and estimates it should start shipping in January.
That price isn't exactly competitive with the Nexus 7, so hopefully Asus has something more budget-friendly in mind for when the tablet is officially confirmed.