Asustek Computer manufacture a range of mobile or portable devices including smartphones, tablets, Chromebook and laptop computers. In 2014, the tablet business suffered from operating losses, which extended into the first half of 2015. Asus has adjusted its business model, reducing the number of new models it has introduced so as to reduce the operating costs. Asustek’s Chief Executive Officer, Jerry Shen, is expecting its tablet business to break even by the end of 2015. Asus, in common with most tablet manufacturers, is suffering from intense competition from Apple. Asus sold 9.4 million tablets across the world in 2014, which was a 22.3% reduction compared with 2013. In 2015 so far, the business has sold 1.5 million tablets in the first quarter, 1.2 million in the second and is expecting to sell at least 1.5 million in the third quarter, rising to 2.8 million in the fourth. This makes at least seven million units for the year with Jerry giving the stretch estimated number of tablets at 9 million. Asustek, then, are expecting to sell fewer tablets in 2015 compared with 2014. Asus’ current tablet line up go under the ZenPad moniker and are available in 7-inch and 10-inch sizes, although the Windows tablets are only available with a 10-inch screen whereas there are several Android-powered models in the 7-inch category. Asus’ relationship with Intel shows through here are 90% of models ship with an Intel Atom processor of one type or another.
These reduced sales indicate a trend happening across the industry, where the market for tablets has changed. There are a few reasons for this: smartphones are getting larger and as consumers get used to the larger pocket-portable device, smaller tablets are less appealing. Larger, full size tablets remain relatively difficult to travel with, but for the home market they face competition in the form of the Google Chromebook and new low price Windows 8.1 laptops (and these will be running Windows 10 before too long). Still, Asus notes that it has seen good tablet sales in Russia, Italy, Indonesia and Thailand. Closer to home, for the United States of America, Asustek cooperated with Best Buy to sell the devices and this has helped. It has also been in discussion and cooperation with AT&T to sell tablets from the carrier, too.
It will be interesting to see how Asustek’s tablets sell throughout the rest of 2015. Asus are introducing more and more ARM-powered models in their smartphone and tablet range, which may change consumer perceptions but also adjust the pricing, as Intel Atom processors have been a popular choice for the lower priced models in a given range. Asus recently announced six new models; perhap we will see the model range reduced going forwards.