Asustek unveils US$99 ZenFone at CES


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. unveiled on Monday a new ZenFone series of low-priced smartphones at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) trade show in Las Vegas.

The three ZenFone models, priced as low as US$99, feature screen sizes from 4 to 6 inches and are available in an array of colors to tap into the mainstream smartphone segment, Asustek said in a statement.

The Zenfone 4 starts at US$99 with a 4-inch display and an Intel Atom Z2520 1.2GHz dual-core processor, while the ZenFone 5 costs US$149 and has a 5-inch IPS panel with a 1280 x 720 resolution, a dual-core processor and an 8 megapixel camera.

The higher-end ZenFone 6 starts at US$199 and sports an advanced 6-inch touch screen and a 13-megapixel camera, according to Asustek.

Other new offerings of Asustek at the CES include the dual-operating-system Transformer Book Duet, the tablet-phone hybrid PadFone mini, and the premium gaming monitor ROG Swift PG278Q.

“Asustek is passionate about technology and driven by innovation. We dream, we dare and we strive to create an effortless and joyful digital life for everyone,” Asustek Chairman Jonney Shih said at a pre-show press conference.

Also on Monday, U.S. carrier AT&T announced that it will sell a variant of Asustek’s PadFone series, the PadFone X, exclusively in the United States, but did not reveal pricing or the availability date of the phone.

The PadFone X is a 5-inch full-HD smartphone that can activate a 9-inch full-HD tablet when the phone is docked. It runs the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system and features dual front speakers.

“The PadFone X is the first of its kind in the U.S. It combines leading technology, a beautiful design and a remarkably seamless application experience — all on the nation’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of devices at AT&T.

“This allows consumers to run their smartphone apps instantly on a vivid 9-inch tablet display. The magic of it is that the experience is not just bigger, it’s better than on a traditional smartphone,” Bradley said.