I have always liked ASUS. Their involvement in the PC business is the cornerstone of their Android business today. Previously they cooperated with Garmin to manufacture a Garmin-Asus Android phone. The Garmin-Asus phone received moderate success, but the enthusiasm towards the device was quenched as consumers were hoping for Garmin to offer their app on all devices instead of just one.
In the tablet segment, Asus generated massive attention for the Asus Ee Pad Transformer – an impressively made dual core tablet that mounts on a keyboard dock. Suffice to say, the Transformer put the Atrix and Motorola’s laptop dock to shame.
ASUS Padfone – An Ice Cream Sandwich Wonder
The ASUS Padfone is one of the most anticipated Android products in 2011. According to ASUS, the Padfone will hit shelves in early 2012 running Google’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich OS. The ASUS Padfone can act as a phone, while runs as a tablet within the tablet casing. All downloads and actions done in tablet mode are stored in the phone. Unlike other executions in the market, the Padfone is the one to watch out for because of ASUS’ success in the Android Tablet category.
Imagine a world where one device can be integrated into all:
What if your phone can be everything – and not just a tablet via Padfone. This is an area untouched by Android and is probably what Android@Home is all about.
ASUS should be applauded for bringing the Transformer and Slider into the world. They have intentionally created (in my opinion), one of the best tablets in the market today. It has one of the best displays and can challenge the Apple iPad 2 in a fair fight.
The Transformer is in such high demand that it was sold out in several countries. Unlike other Android tablets in the market, the Asus Transformer did not experience a huge dive in pricing. It was, after all, priced competitively and its success is attributed to its functionality and price.
It is also one of the Android tablets in the market that is quite easy to root, and doesn’t carry with it massive reboot problems and issues in other Android tablets. I must say, ASUS’ experience in the PC category did them a lot of good with the Transformer series.
Since the release, most techblogs have given nothing but praise for the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and this is indeed a good thing. It is without a doubt that ASUS will continue winning in this category. It’s shocking to note that the Transformer is ASUS’ first tablet in the Android category, and despite that they are doing so well against other first and second generation tablets in the market.
At the recent All Things Digital conference in Hong Kong, Asus Chairman Johnny Shih unveiled the new Transformer Prime, a 10-inch, 8mm quad core Kal-El tablet that is ready to launch on 9th November. This will be the first quad core Android tablet in the market. Will it do well?
Without a doubt, the Transformer Prime will be a highly desirable tablet – if only because of consumer confidence in the original Transformer. It will be interesting to watch the development of the Android tablet market in a post Ice Cream Sandwich world.
The only concern I have about the Transformer Prime is the legality regarding the usage and connection consumers will have with the Optimus Prime character from Transformers, but with its stunningly sleek profile, excellent battery life, and rock-solid performance, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board, it is likely to be the Android Tablet the world has been waiting for.
If there’s something great about the leaders and thinkers in Asus – is that they know how to swing consumer’s wallets. Almost immediately after the launch of the Galaxy Nexus, ASUS announced Ice Cream Sandwich for all their ASUS tablets – and even better, they promised to roll the OS out before the end of the year!
Whether they successfully achieve this, is something that we will know in time. Their enthusiasm is something admirable and should be emulated by other manufacturers. A lackluster announcement is not something that will make consumers excited about your products.
This is an aggressive risk that ASUS is willing to take, and it will determine if they will succeed with more sales towards Christmas, or it might be the straw that breaks the consumers’ trust and confidence.
ASUS might have won in the tablet category, but they haven’t released anything respectable in the mobile category. The Garmin-ASUS phone received mixed reviews and since then no other ASUS phone have been released to the market.
It would be interesting to see how the upcoming ASUS Padfone will perform before high consumer expectations. The lack of presence in the phone category means that ASUS cannot take the ASUS Padfone lightly. It has to win, or they will be immediately out of the mobile segment.
High consumer expectation from Samsung with their Super AMOLED display also means that ASUS Padfone might not the cup of tea for the majority of consumers. Also, the type of display that goes on the tablet case might turn this powerhouse of a device, into nothing but heartbreak. This is a delicate matter that will require finesse from this wise PC manufacturer.
This all being said, how can ASUS win?
ASUS’ work on the Transformer is commendable and respectable. However, they cannot rely on a tablet forever as an Android vendor. A transition into mobile phones is inevitable. However, they have not achieved this. Betting in the mobile category with the ASUS Padfone is akin to putting all the eggs in one basket. This is a ballsy move, and could either be the bet that spearheads them further or be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We will know in time.
It is interesting to note that some of the best Android vendors are those from the PC industry. Samsung has their own line of notebooks, while vendors like HTC have a long history in mobile tech. ASUS is knee deep in PC hardware and this is now playing to their advantage. It is important that ASUS continues using their PC experience in their Android range. Maybe, just maybe they should manufacture an Android based (dual boot) notebook.
One of the things that ASUS should do now is to keep their word regarding the ICS update. If consumers see this promise fulfilled, their confidence in ASUS will grow, and what you have down the road is repeat purchase. I believe any kind of brand will be strong with repeat purchase. Fundamentally, building and expanding your customer base is important, however keeping your current customers coming back is another way for ASUS to win.
The ASUS Transformer is an impressive device. Most reviews indicate it outperforms other tablets in real time performance despite similar hardware. This can be attributed to either better hardware integration or software innovation. Whatever it may be, it is important that ASUS keeps doing what they are doing right to continue on this path. It is important for ASUS to come in first with innovations – the quad core tablet and Padfone would be a crucial launch for ASUS. However, ASUS should not ignore hardware advancements. They should be ready to incorporate new tech such as LTE, USB drives, faster memories, and NFC – at the price that ASUS has been winning with – and they will dominate.
ASUS’ tablets use IPS – which is similar to the display in the iPhone. The problem with this is – the majority of consumers have been craving a high definition AMOLED display. It would be interesting for ASUS to incorporate this into their range of future products. LG has produced a HD IPS display capable of fighting SAMOLED head on. We do not know if ASUS will launch with this. In the event if this is a reality, ASUS will outdo most of their competitors with a better display and a superior performance product.
And so how about you? Have you ever purchased an ASUS product? Do you own the ASUS Transformer? Are you thinking about the ASUS Transformer (2) Prime? Do they have what it takes to be one of the most successful companies making Android hardware? Let us know your thoughts!