Industry insiders confirmed to the online publication, DigiTimes, that the Taiwanese tech firm ASUS will launch the second-generation version of its ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers) Phone in the third quarter of 2019.
Even though there are no details available about the new features and hardware internals of the upcoming handset, the report claims that ASUS is partnering with Chinese tech giant Tencent, which holds a stake in the development and publication of popular games like Fortnite, PUBG, and the mobile game version of Call of Duty, to promote the smartphone in China.
The development and launch of the upgraded version of the ASUS ROG Phone were expected by many industry insiders, given that the company previously announced that it would now focus on gamers and power users.
Even though ASUS will still launch devices as part of its ZenFone lineup, with one product scheduled to be unveiled on May 14, the company plans to release more gaming handsets in the future as it considers the potential of the gaming smartphone market.
ASUS previously noted that people from a wide range of demographics regularly game on their smartphones, and even if gaming smartphones may account for a small percentage of all handsets sold, dominating this segment of the market will still result in millions of handsets shipped to consumers. This strategy should allow the mobile phone division of ASUS to return to profitability, after losing money over the past few quarters.
Nonetheless, this decision had a short-term negative impact on the earnings of the Taiwanese tech firm, with the strategy shift costing the company around NT$6.2 billion (around $201 million) in inventory losses and amortization of royalty. This one-time expense caused the 73-percent year-on-year decrease in the company's annual net profits to NT$4.24 billion in 2018.
Meanwhile, ASUS unveiled the ROG Phone back in June last year, and the handset sported premium hardware internals, which included the Snapdragon 845 chipset, 8GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 512GB of flash storage. However, the smartphone also came with other features that allowed it to stand out from other flagship handsets and better cater to the needs of gamers.
Among these features are the 6-inch Super AMOLED display that offers a resolution of 2160 x 1080, refresh rate of 90Hz, and a response time of 1ms. The smartphone also includes a vapor chamber that cools down the chipset and helps maintain the performance of the device despite extended gaming sessions.
The handset comes with multiple USB Type-C ports that are located at the bottom and the side of the device. The side-mounted USB Type-C port allows the gamer to attach different accessories designed for the ROG Phone.
While there is no information available about the improvements that ASUS may incorporate into the upcoming gaming handset, users may expect better hardware internals, which may include an upgraded chipset in the form of the Snapdragon 855, more RAM, and flash storage capacities, and an improved display.
Given ASUS' recent announcements about its handset strategies, many already expect that ASUS will develop an improved version of the ROG Phone, although it remains to be seen if ASUS is right in predicting that the gaming smartphone market will grow, given that one of its competitors, Razer, are flip-flopping on releasing another gaming handset. However, as ASUS seeks to dominate the niche market segment, the company will likely collaborate with more game developers and publishers for handset marketing and gaming optimizations.