Many of ASUS’ smartphones and tablets have been based around an Intel Atom processor, which offers a slightly different blend of performance compared with the ARM based competition. Depending on the exact model and configuration, Intel’s x86 (and x64) Atom range of System-on-Chips often have superior computational abilities but inferior 3D processing abilities, although this is a broad sweep of a brush! ASUS themselves have stated that they will be introducing a wider range of models that use ARM-based computers, but earlier in the year their successful ZenFone 2 range (one of the first handsets to offer 4 GB of RAM) was originally based around an Intel processor, although ASUS have offered a variety of ZenFone 2 devices and some have used ARM processors whereas others have used Intel processors. We have also seen ASUS use Intel’s ARM-based Atom X3 processor in devices such as the ASUS ZenPad 8.0, but the implication of ASUS’ earlier statements on the matter was that they would be using chipsets from alternative suppliers. We have today seen some evidence that suggests this is indeed the case as an ASUS device has appeared on the GFXBench website using a Qualcomm System-on-Chip.
The device in question has a model designation of Z012D and it appears to be powered by one of Qualcomm’s family of mid-range Snapdragon processors, in this case the Snapdragon 618. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 618 is a six core System-on-Chip, featuring a cluster of four ARM Cortex-A53 application cores as the lower tier and a higher performance tier consisting of a dual core ARM Cortex-A72 processor. These cores are supported by the Adreno 510 GPU and in this case, by 3 GB of RAM. The Cortex-A72s are reputed to have a maximum clock speed of 1.7 GHz. The new unannounced device also appears to have a 5.5-inch, FHD (1080p or 1,920 by 1,080 pixel resolution) display, 32 GB of storage and runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, although there’s no mention of NFC.
The ASUS ZenFone 2 was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show 2015, and for 2016 this kicks off in early January. It would seem logical enough for ASUS to introduce their new smartphones next month, but at the moment we do not have any other evidence to suggest that one (or more) will be based around the Snapdragon 618.