Verizon will launch an exclusive smartphone offering in the final quarter of the year, with the largest mobile service provider in the United States commissioning ASUS for the ASUS Ontario, known industry insider Evan Blass said earlier this week. The "Ontario" part of the phone's moniker is supposed to be just its codename and there are currently no indications of how the device will actually be marketed as. Still, with the traditionally lucrative holiday season being just around the corner, it would make sense for Verizon to debut yet another device exclusive to its network, especially if it's made by ASUS; the New Jersey-based wireless carrier has a long history of collaborating with the Taiwanese original equipment manufacturer, having already exclusively launched two of its offerings in the U.S. in 2017 alone.
The first 2017 ASUS-made device available stateside exclusively through Verizon was the ZenFone AR, an unconventional smartphone designed specifically for Google's augmented and virtual reality platforms Tango and Daydream. Being a niche offering with a relatively premium price tag, the ZenFone AR reportedly didn't sell too well in the country, though that didn't stop Verizon from introducing yet another exclusive device from ASUS shortly after that summer launch, with the company opting to bring the ZenPad Z8s to the U.S. in early August. Even though Android tablets aren't in a particularly high demand these days, the ZenPad Z8s may still do reasonably well considering its affordable price tag and mid-range specs, with Verizon offering it for as little as $250.
The third and presumably final ASUS device that the wireless carrier is looking to launch this year may be a new member of the ZenFone series which the Taiwanese OEM just refreshed earlier this summer, having introduced half a dozen ZenFone 4 models. The possibility of the ASUS Ontario being a high-end smartphone is relatively low seeing how this year's U.S. holiday period is almost certainly going to be dominated by Apple and — to a lesser degree — Samsung. Committing resources to promoting a direct competitor to new flagship offerings from by far the most popular brands in the country would generally be seen as a poor business decision and is hence unlikely to be made by Verizon.