Asus CEO Jerry Shen has confirmed that the upcoming new devices called MeMOFone HD5 and Padfone Mini. It’s usually hard to figure out what Asus’ brand names for smartphones and tablets refer to, and I believe this is a major problem of theirs, one that hopefully will fix if they merge with Acer, as it’s been rumored. Acer isn’t that much better at naming their products, but hopefully when they discuss overhauling their branding strategies, they end up with better names overall.
Either way, the MeMOFone HD5 seems like a 5″ (or 5″+) device, which again is pretty confusing because the Memo name used to be for Asus tablets, and now they’re adding “Fone” to it, but fortunately the HD5 part of the name tells us that it’s closer to a phone than a tablet.
Then we have the Padfone Mini. The Padfone, once again contains two pretty confusing words (pad+fone), but at least in this case it seems to match a little better, because it’s referring to pretty confusing category Asus has tried to create, too – it’s a device that’s both a tablet and a phone, and you can take out of the phone from it, and then integrate it back into the tablet, to use it as a tablet. So far Asus has made a 10″ such device, with a 4.3″ phone inside, but now they seem to be making a 7″ one, with a 4″ integrated phone.
I’m sure Asus wouldn’t continue this if they didn’t have at least some sales to show for it, but I think they are also leaving a lot of money on the table, by not making phones with good memorable names that people really want to use, without having to integrate them into tablet parts. There’s no broad market appeal for that, and I believe Asus should stop making such devices.
Asus is generally a pretty innovative company that tries a lot of crazy stuff sometimes, and sometimes they get it right. They are also one of the companies that produces quality products consistently from low-end to high-end, which is also why Google has decided to keep them around in the Nexus program, and asked them to make the upcoming Nexus 10.
So far Asus hasn’t been very successful in the smartphone market, and buying HTC, a sister Taiwanese company, would give them a big boost in the smartphone market, and a lot of mindshare to go with it. All they’d need to do after that is give a lot of money to HTC to promote their products better, and they could be getting a lot closer to Samsung in terms of market share and revenue.