In an interview with AllThingsD, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih admitted that the company is a "latecomer" to the smartphone market but is making progress in bringing a device to the United States. He said Asus has been taking its time building relationships with the very carriers and retailers it will depend on when a smartphone finally is ready to ship.
Take a quick glance at the company's local website, and you'll see motherboards, graphics cards, notebooks, desktops, tablets, optical drives, networking products, and other devices. What you won't see, at least for now, is a smartphone portfolio. The closest device Asus offers is the Padfone phone/tablet 10.1 inch hybrid and the 7 inch Fonepad phablet, both of which are sold overseas.
Shih said that Asus created the Fonepad because smartphones are being used less for making phone calls and more for their computing prowess. He said he was pleasantly surprised to see consumers actually use it as a phone, given its 7 inch size. But he also indicated that there's a limit to what the pocket can bear when it comes to a phone's size. After all, you typically can't stuff a 7 inch phablet into a pocket.
Currently, Asus is focused on its third generation Padfone and its Transformer series of Android tablets with keyboard docks. For the latter, he said that Asus is going to have something even more revolutionary in the near future. Naturally, he didn't elaborate, but we're betting there's some telephony action going on soon.
The PadFone Infinity is the company's latest PadFone entry, sporting a smartphone with a 5 inch screen, 4G LTE connectivity, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core SoC clocked at 1.7 GHz, a 13MP f/2.0 camera with 8FPS burst mode, and a battery promising up to 19 hours. The device can be docked into a 10.1 inch full HD screen, turning it into a tablet.
As for the Fonepad, it has an Intel Atom Z2460 SoC clocked at 1.6 GHz, 1 GB of RAM, up to 32 GB of internal storage, Wireless N and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, 3G connectivity, a 1.2MP camera on the front and a 3MP camera on the back, a microSD card slot and more. The 7 inch IPS screen has a 1280 x 800 resolution.
So when exactly will Asus enter the North American smartphone market? The company seems to be doing quite well with the Fonepad and Padfone overseas. "I think next year is more reasonable," he said.