Update 29/08/2023: Asus has released a statement on its website that it will continue it’s two main phone business product lines, the ROG Phone and the Zenfone. This confirms that the rumours regarding Zenfone 10 being the last model in the lineup are not true. “ASUS has a strong commitment to our smartphone business and customers. Please reference our Q2 earnings call for more information. Please stay tuned for our 2024 product lineups”, said Asus.
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Asus has been a known manufacturer not just in the PC industry but also in the smartphone segment. The brand has two series of smartphones, including its gaming-oriented phone lineup under the ROG name and the Zenfone lineup aimed at general consumers. Out of the two, it seems like the Zenfone division is shutting down, and the Asus Zenfone 10 would be the last smartphone from the lineup.
Taiwanese media has reported that the “latest Zenfone 10 will be the last generation smartphone from its series. The Zenfone team will be merged into other departments in the future or directly into the ROG team.” In June, Asus reportedly sent out an internal letter to its employees announcing an upcoming organizational restructuring.
While it assured its employees that there would be no layoffs, it still went ahead and reduced its workforce in the PC department later in July. This affected employees in both Taiwan and Suzhou, China. Employees were told that the commercial computer team would be integrated into the mobile phone division, but after doing so, the employees were still laid off as a result of the closure of the Zenfone series. It is now being expected that the layoffs in Asus’ commercial department will continue until next month.
Why is Asus concluding its Zenfone lineup?
Asus restructuring plans have been converted into layoffs and one major reason for that is the closure of the Zenfone division. There could be a number of reasons behind making this decision, with one being low market share and adoption. The Asus Zenfone series has never been a major player in the global smartphone market, especially in the US, where it faces stiff competition from other brands like Samsung, Apple, and OnePlus.
Even in markets such as India, Asus hasn’t been able to make a name for itself and hasn’t been consistent with its launches. After the Zenfone 8, the Zenfone 9 and 10 never made it to India. Apart from this, one of the other reasons behind finishing off the series could be the brand’s inability to keep up with timely software updates. The brand has faced a lot pf criticism over the year’s for not maintaining a timely update schedule, even for a phone that is considered a flagship.
Where companies like Samsung and OnePlus promise to give four major OS updates to their devices, Asus gives half of that, which is unacceptable. With such impressive quality smartphones, the quality of the software should also match for a top-notch experience. Asus may have found it too costly and time-consuming to keep up with the latest Android versions and security patches for the Zenfone series.
Apart from this, Asus has been targeting a niche audience with the Zenfone series compact flagships, whereas most of the other phones see an increase in size with each generation, or they stick to the bigger design. Targeting such audiences, in the long run, can result in losses for the brand if the segment fails to pick up the pace.
The bigger form factor has become more of a norm in the industry, with sluggish sales for the smaller phones and not a lot of people looking to buy smaller devices. Another example of this situation could be Apple, which also stopped making relatively small smartphones only after two generations, namely the iPhone 12 Mini and the 13 Mini.
Lastly, we think Asus wants to spend more time, cost, and manpower efforts on its ROG series lineup, which is a much more known name in the smartphone industry, especially in the gaming segment. It seems like the ROG lineup has proven to be more profitable than the Zenfone lineup for Asus.
There’s no official statement from Asus as of now regarding the credibility of the report and whether it is actually closing down the Zenfone division. We’ll update the article once the brand releases its response to the development.