The 7-inch tablet craze has certainly caught on with some manufacturers, and now it seems that ASUS wants a slice of that pie for itself. iAfrica reports that ASUS is planning to launch a new 7-inch tablet dubbed the ME-172 early next year with a price tag that can challenge that of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. We might even see it revealed at CES 2013, which just so happens to be coming up quickly.

As for the technical specifications of this tablet, we’ll have a 7-inch display running at 1024×600 resolution, a VIA WM8950 processor, and a Mali 400 GPU. As far as storage goes, the ME-172 reportedly comes with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, though you can expand on that thanks to the microSD slot ASUS has included – a feature that is notoriously missing from the Nexus 7. Finally, you’ll have a 4270mAh battery to power everything, along with a 1MP front-facing camera and support for Android 4.2.

We’re hearing that this tablet will sell for 2,000 ZAR in South Africa, which translates to just about US $226.50. That’s already a pretty decent price for an Android tablet, but don’t be surprised to see that price decrease if ASUS opts to release it in other regions. We’re also told that it will be launching in Q1 2013, so it shouldn’t be very long before this new device hits shelves.

Of course, ASUS is no stranger to budget 7-inch tablets, as it’s the company that put together Google‘s Nexus 7. We’ll have to see if this all pans out, but with the windows we’re hearing for reveal and release, we should be finding out more about this tablet soon. Keep it here at Android Community for more information.