Asus has been one of the most prolific Android tablet makers thus far, but they’ve limited themselves to just the 10-inch size across three different models. Compare that to Samsung, which has 7,8.9, 10.1 and (eventually) 7.7-inch versions available. Rumors of a more portable Asus tablet have been circling for some time, but the first real evidence comes from Notebook Italia, who have what seems to be a press shot for a more travel-friendly model. Taking the tried and true 7-inch form factor, the site claims that it will be strutting its stuff at CES in Las Vegas next week.

The image seems legitimate enough: it’s using Asus’ typical branding and the same homescreen/button/widget combination that they’ve showed off since the original Transformer. And speaking of Transformer, this possible model probably won’t bear that moniker: a data/charging dock on the bottom (like the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab) makes an attachable keyboard very unlikely. It’s tough to see in such a small image, but the OS looks like Honeycomb, not Ice Cream Sandwich.

As always, temper your hopes – this is just a small image with no real evidence behind it. I could Photoshop (verb) the same thing easily enough out of some original Transformer press shots. That said, a smaller, cheaper tablet makes a lot of sense for Asus, who have generally covered all price points in the laptop market. With the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet making waves at $199 and $249, respectively, a $299 Asus tablet with the same size but better specs would certainly turn some heads.

Android Community will be at CES with bells on. We’ll be sure to bring you the latest news about this little beauty, if and when it appears. And we’ll be keeping a close eye out for the much-anticipated Padfone as well.

[via android central]