Asus has seen some success with the budget-oriented unlocked Zenfone 2, and now a less expensive variant of the device is coming to AT&T as a prepaid GoPhone. The Zenfone 2E keeps many of the design cues from the Zenfone 2, but pulls back on the spec sheet a bit.
Asus announced a new ZenWatch several weeks ago, and now the original ZenWatch is getting a price drop, presumably to pave the way for the new version. It used to sell for $199.99, but now you can have the first-gen ZenWatch for just $129.99.
Asus has a history of making inexpensive Android tablets. While it doesn't make Nexus tablets anymore, the Taiwanese OEM is still chugging along in the tablet market. The latest tablet from Asus is the ZenPad S 8.0, and it's now available at Best Buy in the US. It doesn't appear to be for sale through any other channel yet.
Windows Phone, eat your heart out. Android is now capable of virtualizing a full and up-to-date Windows desktop operating system. Well, one phone is at least, and it's probably not one you would have guessed: the ASUS ZenFone 2. XDA-Developers forum member ycavan managed to get Windows 7 running on his phone using a variety of custom tools, some impressive technical skill, and quite a lot of patience. Check it out in the video below:
To be clear, this is Windows 7, virtualized, running on a local virtual machine client accessed via the aSPICE KVM client for control. Windows is not being emulated (it's been done with older versions).
Compared to other "premium" Android Wear watches, the ASUS ZenWatch is kind of square. No, I mean it's literally a square. Okay, technically it's a rectangle, but you know what I'm getting at here. When manufacturers decide they're going to fancy up their Android Wear devices, they tend to make them circular, as was the case with the Moto 360 or the LG Watch Urbane. Not so with this one.
The ASUS Zenfone 2 has proven a popular device in its first few weeks on the market. It's reasonably priced and has good specs. As David pointed out in our review, the software is its biggest issue, so you know there are tons of users anxious to mod the crap out of it. Good news on that front—there's now a bootloader unlock method, and it's not terribly messy.
The Asus ZenFone 2 is one of the more interesting unlocked phones to be announced lately, and you can secure yours right now on Amazon. A few more US retailers have product pages up, but it looks like it's just Amazon taking orders. The first round will ship on May 20th.
Asus hasn't had much of a presence in the US phone market aside from a few unpleasant PadFones, but that's about to change with the ZenFone 2. This device was revealed at CES in January, but now the US variant is official. It's coming May 19th for $199-299, and you can pre-order it tomorrow.
The ASUS Padfone form factors have always been incredibly interesting. It's a real shame that by the time they were picked up by a US carrier, the over-the-top modular form factor was toned down to something with a lower price tag and more mass appeal. Even so, if you'd like to check out this unique phone-tablet hardware, there's no better time than the present. An eBay vendor has a refurbished version of the Padfone X mini, complete with its 7-inch tablet dock, on sale for just $99.99.
The X mini is a low-end phone that can also double as a low-end tablet.
When we buy gadgets, it's usually with the expectation that their useful lifetime will carry us at least until we're ready to replace them, and hopefully well beyond. Most people assume their smartphones should last at least two years, in part because contract customers in the US are accustomed to unreasonably high upgrade prices for mid-term upgrades, and also because most manufacturers have adopted yearly release cycles that fit well with this pace. The expectations for tablets aren't as well defined, but most customers seem to want about 3 years or so. Even when we're done with a device, we want to be the ones to end the relationship, rather than wake up and find our hardware dead beyond hope.