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ASUS reportedly shuts down Zenfone division (Update: Not true)
- A report from Taiwan suggests that ASUS has shut down the Zenfone division, moving employees to the ROG Phone division and other areas of its business.
- The report follows incidents of disallowing bootloader unlock and removal of older firmware.
- ASUS has denied the report.
Update: August 29, 2023 (12:13 AM): ASUS has now confirmed it won’t be shutting down the Zenfone line. You can read ASUS’ official statement about the future of the Zenfone series here.
Original article: August 27, 2023 (9:26 AM ET): The ASUS Zenfone 10 is our pick for the best compact flagship, delivering a powerful experience in a compact form factor without any of the usual downsides. The Zenfone 10 and even the Zenfone 9 have received critical acclaim from reviewers like us. Many praise ASUS for continuing with trends like including a 3.5mm headphone jack and maintaining a compact flagship with no real compromises. But it could be the end of the lineup, as new reports have emerged about ASUS shutting down the Zenfone division.
According to a report from Technews Taiwan, ASUS is carrying out internal restructuring, and as part of the process, certain departments have been cut down. One of the unfortunate victims of this internal restructuring is the Zenfone division, which is said to have been shut down. Employees working in this division have been absorbed into the ROG Phone team and other parts of the business.
The report further asserts that the Zenfone 10 will be the last phone in the Zenfone series. Since the team no longer exists, there is unlikely to be a successor to this phone.
The report follows other incidents around Zenfone. Earlier in the month, ASUS stopped allowing bootloader unlocks for Zenfone owners. The company maintained that they are not stopping the possibility of unlocking, just that the tool is currently unavailable.
A few weeks ago, community members also spotted that ASUS had removed older Zenfone firmwares from its website. Community moderators responded that ASUS no longer provides previous firmware versions or downgrade packages to ensure users remain on up-to-date firmware.
Both of these incidents do not directly point to the shutdown of the Zenfone division. But they add the value of hindsight to the report, and we can’t help but wonder if the writing was on the wall all this time.
We’ve reached out to ASUS to confirm the report and for their statement on the same. We will update this article once we hear back from them.
If true, the loss of the Zenfone lineup will be a big blow to the smartphone ecosystem. While we can still hope to see more ROG-branded phones, the Zenfone lineup will be sorely missed for bringing the clean Android experience to small smartphone lovers. Consumers benefit from more options, but such departures mean we inch toward a boring duopoly. ASUS could make a smaller gaming phone under the ROG Phone brand, but it would be serving a niche market within a niche market, and we wouldn’t hold our breath on it.