ASUS Launches ZenFone 2 for Southeast Asia

Thursday, April 23, 2015

It was an awesome trip indeed! We had to go to Jakarta, Indonesia to witness the Southeast Asian launch of the ASUS ZenFone 2 and their other products. Yes, it's the phone that is rumored to beat all the competition in its class. It's my first time here so it was something I was definitely looking forward to. I've heard so many things about this place. Jakarta has its own charm, a little dated but they prove to be true to their heritage, a history that dates back centuries rooted in religion, built with wars and culture.

As with ASUS, they sternly believe that in order to become great, they have to do the legwork in making the best phones specs wise but have it affordable that most consumers would be able to get one when it finally comes out of the electronic shelves (rumored to be May). It looks kind of simple on paper but in real life, designing a dream phone/phablet like this would cost an arm and a leg if they did it on their own. ASUS had partnerships with other manufacturers so they could get the best there is architecturally but keep the prices down since these components are made by the experts themselves. It's some sort of synergy, a meeting of minds where you make the best fit hardware for your mobile devices.

In grand ceremonies at the Pullman Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, ASUS made sure their presence got felt. ASUS Regional Director for South East Asia Rex Lee says "ASUS is the number 1 global brand in the whole Southeast Asia. This includes Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. In both consumer and commercial notes, we are number 1! Many thanks to our partners for their support. In Malaysia, we also sold 230,000 units. That's 34.9 market share in Malaysia alone, now that is number 1. You can even see it with a comparison trend in Google Trends, we remain at the peak of everyone's interest in this region. We have the lead against all our competitors. We're also the number 1 brand in Vietnam, selling over 322,000 units which is 30 percent market share in Vietnam. We also won the best gaming notebook in this country. Our Zen notebooks also won awards as the best in the year 2014. These are prestigious award giving bodies in Vietnam alone. 

We also have sold over 920,000 units in Indonesia, that's 31 market share making us a very strong brand in any demand point of view. We also won a top brand award for Indonesia. As for Malaysia, the gap between us and Samsung is getting smaller every quarter. We also have the best selling tablets in Malaysia and Vietnam, outdoing Samsung and Apple. ASUS is even gaining ground to being the top tablet brand in Indonesia, very near with almost 5% with leading Samsung. Not to mention ZenFone, one product won 234 awards during it's launch. In just a few months, we did something that hasn't been done before. Imagine how many years Samsung has been doing this, like 20 years, but we've been doing it for only a few months. Now that is amazing! This is according to an IDC report. From laptops, tablets to mobile phones, we're aiming to be number 1 in this 3 markets. ASUS is a global brand, and this time with the Zenfone 2 launch, we're going to be a strong brand for smartphones. We want to be the most admired leading brand in Asia. Together, we can make it happen!"

They also launched Zenny, the owl that will represent ASUS from hereon!
Jerry Shen, CEO of ASUSTeK Computer Inc. says "This is a whole new journey. It began when we launched the ZenFone in Taiwan. From being a nobody back in Taiwan, we are now one of the world's market leaders. We're doing good in Malaysia and Indonesia, we're the number 1 voice sale, we're 98% in user satisfaction. We've transgressed and become the number 1 market leader in Japan. We've been selling 1.5 Million units per month in 2014's 4th Quarter, this is 10 Million units shipped around the world. For this, Maraming Salamat Po! (then he said thank you to everyone in their own language) Our ultimate goal of the search for something others can't see brings us to unprecedented performance, sharpness and award winning devices. This is why we had the ZenFone 2!"

"That's the gear with the beauty of Zen." he adds. 

Robby Swinnen, the Vice President for the Sales & Marketing Group - Asia-Pacifc and Japan at Intel Corporation says "We've had a very close cooperation, collaboration in which we have innovated in the industry. When we started to work together, we've completely changed the way people look at desktops, laptops, 2 in 1's, tablets, and with the Zenfone 2 and the original ZenFone, we've brought the same amount of innovation in smartphones. It has been an amazing journey. What we heard from Jerry earlier is that the ZenFone 2 is a PERFORMANCE MONSTER. It has the industry leading performance in application processing, on communication processing, on imaging processing, and quality. Now many of you may ask, what Intel has got to do with that. Our role in this partnership is to provide the brains, as well as the heart of the ZenFone 2. We have integrated our very own QuadCore Z8530 as well as our industry leading 7260 Modem with 2G, 3G, 4G and Wifi connectivity of course. We at Intel transcend everything into silicon, this is fundamental on making who we are. What does that mean to you? It means you can upload photos on Facebook extremely fast, that means you can take pictures extremely fast and extremely high quality. This means you can share these shots to your family, your friends all around the world. These are just some of the few things that Intel and ASUS can bring to you, your customers to have these innovations in your life."

Another first, ASUS ZenFone 2 is the only one of its kind that has a 4GB memory. Now, it'll make your apps run fast without the need to constantly clear your phone's cache and makes it less susceptible to heating. Those heavy graphics in games need this as much. This is definitely something that only the ZenFone 2 can do, on a price point that won't break the bank.

The ASUS ZenFone 2 now gives consumers the amount of power they need in a single handset. It's very pretty and it even won a 2015 iF Design award with its mettalic hairline finish, 3.9mm thin edges, 72% screen to body ratio and a 5.5 inch screen all packed into a body similar to other smartphones today.

Aside from the ASUS ZenFone 2, they also came out with the View Flip Cover Deluxe that you can use even when it's closed. The functions in the front circle can let you view things even without fully opening the cover. They also have the ZenEar S and ZenEar which perfectly syncs with your phone with up to standard audio output without the cables. For those who wish their phones to last longer, they've also got the ZenPower so you can still have extra juice when you can't plug it in your outlets. For selfie lords, the perfect skin tone can only be achieved with the Lolliflash, making that perfect portrait anytime, anywhere you want to. If you want something even more brighter, there's the ZenFlash which you can attach to the back of your phone and it'll make it even better than some digicams out there which costs an arm and a leg. Isn't that neat? All you need to make a phone better can just be added on with these accessories!

When we got the chance to finally hold in our hands the ZenFone 2, we didn't put it back in the shelf anymore! We played around with it.

My hands are actually huge as I'm a big guy. This phone fit snugly because of that. People with smaller hands might have to use 2 hands as it's almost a phablet, it's that big. I love the fact that they took the time to make the front and back camera powerful. This handset has 13 MP in the rear and 5 MP in the front. You're also getting the best as these are PixelMaster Cameras. You can get 400% brighter photos and videos even in low light conditions. The Dual LED Flash is already good but as I mentioned earlier, they have accessories that can get you more light than what you usually need. The camera also promises a zero shutter lag so it won't be a problem for sports or fast moving subjects when it's needed. It's also got an enhanced HDR mode plus a blue glass infrared filter, so there's no problem if you've got some pitch black backgrounds in photos. The front camera is perfect for selfies because it also shows you real time beauty modes, a little retouch wouldn't hurt anyone right? Oh and if you want to envy people with surreal wide angled shots when on vacation, you can use the ZenUI one that's got a Selfie Panorama Mode which takes 140 degree photos.

The ASUS ZenFone 2 has a 64 bit Intel Atom Super Quad Core Processor, 4GB of 64 bit dual channel RAM which would make your phone transfer data like a real deal PC. The fast and smooth performance is also because the phone has a 60ms touch response time, you'll never be annoyed with those lagging app icons anymore. The battery, can also be charged super fast. You can do 0 to 60% in 39 minutes, it also makes you know how much time you need to make it fully charged on the display. ASUS ZenFone 2 also is making use of their proprietary ZenUI so you can get a simpler and smarter interface, making things less complicated on your phone. They also have separate updates for ZenUI apps so no need to have the whole thing updated first before the available fix gets posted on the Google Play Store. This will make your experience having a ZenFone 2 even better, making fixes available right away in every smart phone from this brand. It's also available in a variety of colors, but I super love the Red most!

Erik Hermanson, ASUS Head of Marketing says "We have some amazing features and enhancements today. With the rise of all the social media channels and how important it is for us to have stunning photos all the time, it's not just a "good" feature to have, it's a "must have". We've worked so hard to constantly have enhancements and improvements on the camera of the ZenFone 2. It all starts in the core, we utilized the industry's best components and make sure that our customers always have the best camera experience, not only on the rear camera but also on the front facing camera as well. If we could combine that with the exclusive PixelMaster Technology, you'll have photos that won't be present in other smartphones all across the planet. Ours have a Super HDR mode, which makes us have a super dynamic range in all our shots. You have to see it with your own eyes, the great amount of detail and greatest image quality. In low light mode, you would want something that could deliver like how you want it.

ASUS has definitely made head way with their new ASUS ZenFone 2. It's price was announced in Rupiah during the Jakarta Southeast Asian Launch but in a nutshell, I converted the price into Philippine pesos in the current exchange rate. If released this May, it might change according to market response but prices are around Php 9,225 for the ZE550ML, Php 10,251 for the ZZE551ML, Php 13,699 for the ZE551ML FHD 32 Gig, and Php 17,087 for the ZE551ML FHD 64 Gig MLC Storage. This is already in the mid range but for the specs that you see in every ZenFone 2, it's way affordable if you compare it to other phones. Now, you still have time to think about what to get in the Philippines because as we heard it'll be around May that they'll release this. Please get me the red one! 

Thank you so much to the good people from ASUS for letting us cover this awesome event in Jakarta, Indonesia. I can't wait to see it, hopefully in our shores soon!


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