ASUS, better known for their well-loved PCs than their moderately successful exploits in the mobile world, may be the next phone maker to get on board with Google’s Tango augmented reality technology, according to an announcement made by their CEO, Jerry Shen. On top of the second consumer device ever to sport Tango compatibility, ASUS is also working on a self-contained all in one virtual reality system, one that would have the processing grunt, imaging, audio, and controllers all on board out of the box, rather than relying on a connected phone or PC like the more traditional VR options that are currently in the market. Shen also spoke a bit about the upcoming ZenFone 4 range, and briefly unveiled a home robot called Zenbo.
Among all of those revelations, perhaps the biggest is the announcement that ASUS will be jumping on the Tango bandwagon. On that announcement, the CEO didn’t really say much, except that the device will be known as the ZenFone AR, and will compete with what’s currently on the market in terms of price, features, and horsepower. That’s not a ton of detail, but given the usual treatment of the ZenFone range and the specs and abilities of the first Tango phone, we’re quite likely to see an upper mid-range device with a price that matches or undercuts the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Speaking on the inevitable continuation of the beloved ZenFone series, Shen didn’t say much, aside from mentioning better cameras and a release some time in the 2nd quarter of 2017.
In the third quarter, Shen states that ASUS will begin releasing all-in-one VR solutions. Details on this venture were barely there, suffice it to say these solutions won’t require a phone or PC to use. Shen did not reveal exactly what kind of hardware or software ecosystem users can expect; a Daydream-enabled setup is a distinct possibility, as is a small gaming rig, akin to the likes of the Alienware Alpha, paired with a battery and integrated into the VR system. Shen capped off the announcements with Zenbo, a home robot that will be out in Taiwan this year, China in early 2017, and other markets from the second quarter onward.