ASUS is not any unknown, we all know about it and the products that make. However, it is true that not all facets of the Taiwanese manufacturer glow so much. In Europe we know them by their computers and some other Android tablet. However, they also make mobile phones. We talked about them, but their subsequent impact has been very discreet.
2015 will be a key year for ASUS in this sense. After launching its Zenfone original in several emerging markets, now finally take seriously Europe and will bring us soon its second-generation phones. Yes, that we met in Las Vegas. We know the company but this facet is something strange. Are they ballots to make a hole? Will it help them all the good reputation we have built around other product categories?
Of Transformer to Zen
ASUS was one of the first manufacturers committed to Android. In fact, in his day were pointers in tablets with Honeycomb and then Ice Cream Sandwich. They brought new ideas with the Transformers but the proposal didn’t end quite Jell, partly because the platform was not yet prepared for a device with these characteristics.
In this creative effort, ASUS dared with the Padfone, not with the Fonepad. A device that made the times mobile, but also you could put in a dummy tablet to work with a larger screen. A three in one fairly radical which, again, did not end quite Jell. The proposal was good but its discreet presence and the price not helped that it triumphed.
Years later abandoned philosophy was partially. They focused on a single use devices and they reserved their innovations of two into one and hybrids for Windows. In Android launched a few tablets but, once again, passing on tiptoe through our market. His last big announcement was at CES in 2014 where retook the market of mobile phones with a more concrete and mature proposal: Zenfone.
We had a chance to try it in Las Vegas and he liked us, also. A device with high performance, modest and price with a layer of very attractive personalization. However, time passed and Zenfone began to arrive in Taiwan in May. Months later jumped to the India and some Southeast Asian countries. Got good numbers, its ten million sold devices are indisputable. Especially if you take into account that it was not an international launch.
At the end of the year reached Spain without making much noise. He appeared in some online stores but little he knew of it. The brand did not support it properly and stayed there, no more. When ASUS introduced the second generation of Zenfone feelings were the same as in 2014: good hardware, solid proposal but what will happen to Europe? Said and done: before summer see it here.
This week ASUS has held an event to present in society Zenfone 2. They were not taught nothing new, but the message was clear: we want to enter Europe. Do so aggressively because the prices of the three configurations of the terminals are very competitive: 2GB of RAM, and 8 storage by 179 euros, 2GB of RAM and 16 storage by 249 and 4 GB of RAM and 16 of capacity for 349 euros.
By road remains the Zoom model, there is no official confirmation, but everything suggests that it is suffering some technical revisions so that the camera is at the height of what they promised when they showed it in Las Vegas.
A mid-range… with Intel
Zenfone 2 enters by price and specifications in the canyons of the middle range but leaves some doubts as the performance of Intel Atom. Accustomed to chips from Qualcomm and Mediatek, remains to be seen if they are able to deliver a good performance. Synthetic data and the benchmarks are fine but It remains to be seen every day with them.
The camera also generates some issues. They have long promoted their technology PixelMaster and convincing proofs that they teach. It will however, touch compare and see if they offer is something different and really as good as they want us to believe. They have not just technical data over the sensor and in a niche where Sony has a big weight is easy to be skeptical.
The design is a bit more diffuse: in renderings look good but the margins are rather wide and back buttons, LG brand, should be as comfortable as the Koreans to justify its position. Samsung and Sony are betting strong on factor form this year, it is not a key factor, but it is obvious that a mobile phone at the end goes through the eyes also.
Their main trump card, and the more they are using, they are the 4GB of RAM in the highest model. According to ASUS, 3GB are not enough to move Lollipop with ease and believe that that additional giga will be perfect to release memory, offering better multi-tasking and not having the system killing processes constantly to make room. At the moment, are one of the first to launch a mobile phone with as much RAM to the market.
Another key point is the software layer Zen UI. Most flat elements, priority to information… The design lines are similar to the Material Design but with a different route. His main obstacle: that loaded it with too much software provided in the single user every day have space in the phone memory.
We’ll see if it works its proposal. The terminal is promising but they will have that to be noticed in an increasingly saturated market terminals and where differentiation is more subtle. At the moment they will enter directly the market of free terminals without agreements with the operators. In other categories already have good reputation but remains to be seen if they can channel that image to mobile and to the Zenfone take a hole and we return to remember them.