Asus preparing cheap, non-Nexus 7-inch tablet for 2013 debut?

To come during CES 2013?

Asus

Asus might be building a cheap 7-inch tablet due out early next year, though it's not the $99 (UK£60, AU$95) Nexus tablet we previously heard about.

According to a report from iAfrica, the company is working on a slate with the model number ME-172V. The tablet apparently runs Jelly Bean and owns a 1024 x 600 capacitive display.

TechRadar asked Asus for confirmation on the tablet and for details on its debut, and received this response from the company:

"Asus North America does not have a confirmed schedule for launch."

We took this to mean that the product is indeed in the works, but Asus is keeping a lid on its unveiling until all the details are hammered out - something we can't fault it for.

Where will ME be?

Another unknown is where in the world the ME-172V will arrive.

iAfrica's report listed the tablet, which should have a VIA WM8950 processor and 1GB of RAM, with a price tag of 2,000 ZAR, or about $226 (UK£141, AUD$216).

The tablet is clearly due for sale in South Africa, but we couldn't get an answer from Asus on where else the ME-172V might arrive.

Should it land outside the African continent, we expect it to be priced much lower, perhaps even in the range of the Google Nexus 7...or below.

Other probable specs have it with a 4,270mAh battery, 8GB of storage and a microSD card for expansion. A Mali 400 graphics chip, front-facing camera and the aforementioned Jelly Bean round out what we have on the tab so far.

There's a chance Asus could debut the ME-172V (though we hope with a different name) at CES 2013, just as it revealed its low-cost MeMo tab at the show last year.

TechRadar will be on hand at the Vegas event, so we'll fill you in on all the latest coming out of Asus.