Next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is shaping up to be unusually uneventful when it comes to major new smartphone releases, as Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony and even Asus will likely wait for the Mobile World Congress in late February or separate dedicated spring announcements to exhibit their H1 2016 Android big guns.
But why isn’t Asus, for instance, keener to unveil the ZenFone 3 exactly a year after the formal debut of the first few ZenFone 2 configurations? One relatively good guess would be that, like many of its rivals, the Taiwanese OEM is looking to pick up the Snapdragon 820 processor.
At the same time, Asus has been dishing out ZenFone 2 variant after variant lately, and May or June 2016 might be a more fitting ETA for yet another one of these. One with USB Type-C connectivity, rumor has it, and fingerprint recognition that’s set to become ubiquitous before long, even in the non-flagship market segment.
Obviously, the Asus ZenFone 3 is unlikely to adopt a cutting-edge, costly and delicate ultrasonic solution from Qualcomm, instead going for a more “conventional” biometric authentication method developed by Elan or Goodix and priced at just $5 a unit.
That way, the handheld or handhelds can seem advanced and futuristic while keeping production expenses low and helping drive sales numbers for the OEM to a grand total of around 30 million units in 2016, up from 20M or so this year.
All that remains to be decided is the placement of the fingerprint sensor. There’s not much room at the back currently, due to ZenFone 2’s somewhat awkward volume rocker, so we’re betting on a newly added physical home button.