Something certainly is afoot at Asus, though the footprint is likely measures no more than 7 inches.
Earlier this week, TechRadar caught wind of a 7-inch slate called ME-172V. Asus North America seemingly confirmed the existence of the tablet, but didn't offer much except to say that a launch schedule hasn't been firmed up.
Now, some specs for an Asus-made tab have appeared on GLBenchmark, giving us a little more insight into the product.
The benchmark ticks off details for a device with model number ME172V (not listed with the hyphen). It runs Android 4.1.1, has a screen resolution of 1024 x 552, and runs a CPU frequency from 600MHz to 1,008MHz.
Apples and oranges
Speculation is swimming that this is the $99 (UK£60, AU$95) Nexus 7 we heard about in September, though soon after those reports surfaced Asus reportedly denied such a low-priced Nexus was in the works.
Asus North America told us Sept. 28 that it was the first time it had heard about such a product.
Whether the ME172V has a Nexus name or not, how it stacks up to Google's 7-inch slate currently on the market is worth a look as it could be a serious contender in the small-tab title fight.
Compared to the Google Nexus 7's 1200 x 800 HD backlit IPS display, the ME172V's resolution will be inferior, though we don't have any other details about the display examine at the moment.
This week's report on the ME172V has it coming with a VIA WMV8950 processor, 1GB of RAM and a microSD card - something Google's Nexus 7 lacks.
The Nexus 7's processor is a Tegra 3 quad-core clocked at 1.3GHz and its memory also meets the 1GB marker.
Google gifted the Nexus 7 with a 4,325mAh battery, and so far it sounds like the ME172V will have a 4,270mAh power source.
As for storage, the Nexus 7 comes in either 16GB or 32GB variants, while all we have on the ME-172V is that it has space for 8GB.
What's interesting though is that because it supposedly has a microSD card, the ME172V could go for a cheaper price than the $199 (UK£159, AU$249) 16GB Nexus 7, meaning it may very well be the cheap Nexus that piqued our interest a few months back.
Clearly, there are still many questions be answered, but we'll keep our eyes out (especially at CES 2013 in January) for this Asus slate.