Asus today announced the PadFone Mini, a more compact version of its flagship PadFone smartphone and tablet combo. However, that news has almost been overshadowed by something that Asus CEO Jerry Shen mentioned to Engadget. Though the PadFone has initially only been available in Taiwan, it seems Shen is ready to take the phone mainstream. Apparently, this starts today with availability of the PadFone Infinity now extending to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, UAE, Russia and parts of Europe. Asus also said that it's developing a product for a 'big operator' in the U.S., which is scheduled for a Q2 2014 launch.
"The fact that such an expensive device still managed to sell nearly 300 units per day in Taiwan means the user base is quite stable," Shen told Engadget. "So in June, I was confident enough to tell my team that it's time to go mainstream. Without knowing our customers' acceptance, I did not dare to go mainstream, because going mainstream requires a lot of effort."
While Asus has been tentative about its foray into the smartphone market, its decision to take things global should come as no big surprise. Back in August, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih admitted that the company is a "latecomer" to the smartphone market but said Asus was making progress in bringing a device to the United States. Shih said Asus had been taking its time building relationships with the various carriers and retailers it will depend on when a smartphone finally is ready to ship. Looks like those relationships are finally where they need to be.