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Asustek aims at bigger role in smartphone battlefield

Asustek aims at bigger role in smartphone battlefield

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Asustek Computer Inc., the world's No. 5 PC maker, aims to return to the mainstream smartphone market by the end of this year with its unique mobile device design. The Taiwanese firm launched its hybrid handset, the "Padfone," around the world on April 20, and it hopes the category will gain more traction from mobile users when it launches the second-generation version of the product in September. "We have returned to the smartphone business with our first-generation Padfone, which has established good word of mouth," Asustek CEO Jerry Shen said at a press conference Monday. "With the upcoming launch of the second generation, we hope to return to the mainstream smartphone battlefield," he said, adding that the next generation of Padfone will support high-speed 4G networks. Shen said Asustek has set an "aggressive" shipment target for the second-generation Padfone this year, but he declined to reveal the figure because it is an internal target. The Padfone is a 4.3-inch smartphone featuring Qualcomm Inc.'s dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and a powerful 8-megapixel camera. It can be combined with a 10.1-inch tablet and a keyboard dock to provide the integrated functions of a phone, a pad and a notebook. The bundled phone and tablet station is being sold in Taiwan at NT$25,901 (US$888), while the standalone 4.3-inch smartphone will carry a price tag of NT$17,990, according to the company. "It sees the convergence of the three key products (notebook, smartphone and tablet) in the industry, and has strong products to compete in all three areas," said Kirk Yang, an analyst at Barclays Capital in Hong Kong, in a note released Tuesday. Despite Asustek's optimism, it may be difficult for the Taiwanese PC vendor to compete against handset giants like Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc., because the smartphone market seems to be moving toward a two-horse race. According to Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 41 percent annually to reach 145 million units in the first quarter of 2012, with Samsung and Apple accounting for 55 percent of the total. Samsung overtook Apple to become the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume with a record 31 percent market share, as the South Korean firm's global smartphone shipments rose 253 percent annually to 44.5 million units, the research showed. Apple shipped 35.1 million smartphones worldwide and captured 24 percent market share during the first quarter, as its volume strengthened in key markets such as China, the United States and Japan, the company said. Asustek, which sold smartphones under the Garmin-Asus from early 2009 to last year, said in October 2010 that it would no longer introduce new co-branded handset models and has since concentrated on developing a devices under its own brand. The company did say, however, that it would continue using Garmin's navigation software on its Android-based smartphones for the next few years. (By Jeffrey Wu)


Updated : 2021-08-05 20:25 GMT+08:00