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.
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.
When you think smartphones, ASUS probably rarely comes to mind. While the company has been building Android phones for several years now, their market penetration outside of Asia has been relatively low, and so they rarely get much attention in American or European markets. But the ZenFone 2, when it launched at CES six months ago, definitely raised eyebrows.
At a starting price of just $199, ASUS is offering up a phone with extremely impressive specifications for a do-a-double-take MSRP - it almost sounds too good to be true. Thankfully, I don't think it is - the ZenFone 2 is a solid phone that works pretty much like any Android 5.0+ device you'll encounter while simultaneously blowing the doors off pretty much any competitor at this price point for raw spec sheet power.
Today at a press event during Computex, ASUS announced many new Android products, and I'm guessing you'll be intrigued by at least one of them.
Let's get to the headliner: the big news with the ZenWatch 2 is that it now comes in two sizes - 37mm and 41mm (width). The smaller 37mm sports an 18mm strap, with the 41mm having a larger 22mm band. Both have AMOLED dipslays with Gorilla Glass 3, IP67 dust and water resistance, magnetic charging cables, and use unspecified Qualcomm processors (likely still a Snapdragon 400). The ZenWatch 2 has a crown now, too, which ASUS says adds functionality, but isn't exactly specifying how just yet.
If you're still waiting for that Android Wear 5.1.1 update, don't worry! It's coming. Eventually. Probably. We hope. It might even be coming very soon now (really!), because Google's posted an update on its product forums officially announcing the update there. That post also contains the same list of Wear devices getting Wi-Fi support in the update that we'd seen previously, and it's unchanged. The Moto 360, Sony Smartwatch 3, and Samsung Gear Live will all get Wi-Fi. The Watch Urbane ships with the feature out of the box. Sony confirmed this a while back, as did Motorola. Samsung never issued a comment that I can locate.
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.