ASUS is clear that laptops will continue to be crucial in the future. So they plan to stay ahead

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Within the framework of the IFA in Berlin we were able to talk to Rex Lee, Marketing Director at ASUS. The company’s commitment, especially in the field of laptops and new formats, is becoming increasingly ambitious, so we wanted to know the company’s vision in this field.

Laptops, types of technology, folding and future vision. In ASUS they are clear about their contribution to the current marketand this is what they have told us about their position and vision on the territory of laptops, tablets and even mobile phones.

The current consumer market

ASUS

What has changed most in laptops, in demand in the last three years? What were consumers looking for before and what are they looking for now?

I think it’s the same. A while ago, people were curious about tablets and smartphones, but they realized that what they really wanted was to work, and that’s where laptops were too important. Why is the laptop more important than tablets or smartphones? I think productivity is still the main focus, because if you just need to consume content, the smartphone or tablet can do the job, so I think the laptop is productivity, performance.

The quality of the screen, the camera, the microphone and the speaker… they are a reminder that the laptop is still there, that it is the only one that is on another level, it is that complete and that is why people like it. Our new laptops will come with the H45 CPU, which was previously only for gaming laptops. But now we’re putting it in the ZenBook Pro family of laptops. We’ve also improved the camera, so you can take razor-sharp photos.

In the high range we also improve the microphones. We added up to four microphones to improve noise cancellation. And with the speakers, the same. You haven’t had a chance to test our Vivobook Pro 16X OLED with six speakers. I think we’re going to continue to improve the consumer experience based on productivity.

Actually, I have another question for later, but maybe I can ask it now, because you said that it is important for you to have that OLED screen. The question would be… it is a better screen, but also expensive… Would it be more competitive to offer LCD variants?

Sure, we also have LCDs on the market. We offer the client a possibility of choice. If you check our price lists, before they were very expensive, but now the difference is 100 euros. For example, for an LCD you have €799 and for the OLED €899. So we have given everything to reduce our prices. We are aware that this product is not for everyone, even for a difference of 100 euros.

But when users see that OLED isn’t just pretty colors, it also has a lot less blue light… Our technology only allows 469nm blue to come in. So, between OLEDs and LCDs, you’ll find that OLEDs offer a lot less blue light, and I think that’s a benefit to the customer, not just because of color.

I think we’re at a point where, when a company announces that their screens are LCD, it’s a disappointment… I mean, at least for me… (laughs). You are also number one in motherboard sales, how are you dealing with the current semiconductor crisis? Have you learned anything new from her?

Yes, well, you know; This kind of crisis has been seen for the last 20 or 30 years and the last one was terrible, but I think that supply and demand have already started to change.

Of course there are still shortages in some components, but right now the supply has no problem meeting market demand. We have learned quite a bit. Before, we didn’t have control over a lot of our components over longer periods of time, but now we’re focused on one-year timeframes, so what we’ve done when the market has gotten too tough has been to work with fewer vendors for a weather. I think that’s what we’ve learned.

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ASUS product

zenfone

Now I would like to talk about the product, the ZenBook 17 Fold. What does this laptop offer that we don’t have in a normal laptop? What do you think is the main difference?

I think you already know. Some people like certain equipment, easy to carry. But those same ones also like big screens, right? And usually it’s an all-terrain device, a laptop, a monitor… So we thought we could combine all these devices into one.

Perhaps some will say: “it is still far from being what it has to be”… and yes, but we are in our fourth generation. From the second generation we decided that we would continue to improve. And then it will say: “the price”… And yes, the price is still high, but it is in line with everything that we have optimized, so… We know that there is room for improvement and we will continue working on that line.

Folding phones promised to be a revolution, but today they are still a niche product, so how is the ZenBook 17 Fold going to be different compared to folding phones?

We agree that things will not change in one or two years. It will take a longer time, but with this, but we believe that we are entering this area to get the know-howknowledge, right?

Sony was very good at CRTs with their Trinitrons. Let’s say that Sony was the queen in this field, right? And no one could compete with them. But I started with TFTs; in the beginning, with only 1 or 2% of the market, but completely dedicated to this area, accumulating know-how, and when the time came, we had more know-how than Sony. So we saw that times were changing and Sony was starting to lose and things started to change for them with the switch to TFT. So there will be people who will think that it is too soon for foldables, that there is still a time before they become popular, but we think that it is an important train that we must jump on.

zenfone

Now, I have some questions about your phones and your perspective on gaming. For example, with the Zenfone 9, you have fought for a size that the market has ignored, why? Why have you chosen this format?

I think the smartphone market is a very competitive market, you want to come up with a phone that the others don’t have, and if not, you don’t have an advantage. So it seemed that we had to choose the right model; where we wanted to compete. As in large cell phones, there are already many doing a good job and there is an area with a certain demand, people who do not want a large phone; you want a small phone, with a good camera, good battery, good performance… we thought that would be the area where we had some advantage; that’s why we decided not to go with the majority market. We chose the area where we had an advantage to fight.

ASUS seems determined to conquer gaming on both mobile and laptop. What future advances can come from there?

We believe that… well, from another perspective, as a personal opinion: in the real world there are times when you don’t feel happy, but in gaming, you can be the king, you can be the hero, you can live the life you want So I think the real world is getting harder and harder, that’s why more and more people are trying to find another world where they feel happier, more content, that’s why I think gaming is going to keep thriving, getting bigger and bigger . And I think we got into this area a long, long time ago, when we started making motherboards. And I think we have an advantage in this field, and I think we’re going to continue to invest in this area.

Many people believe that ASUS is a brand focused on gaming, but as you said before, it is very important to you… What are you doing to win in other areas such as productivity?

Well, at ASUS we have different visions and divisions. Even so, each division has to focus on one product. We have the gaming division, with our ROGs… We have our PC division, with our Zen products we have announced a lot of features for next year… We have to focus on how to win, on offering to fill the gap between what other brands offer, for example, we have the LED indicator that very few brands have, we try to offer something different, of course, they have to be features that the user appreciates.

It will bring the H45 CPU to the general public, across our overall product line, and we’re also leading in 16-inch and 14-inch. So we try to add differentiation to our products, a differentiation that comes from what the customer wants and the design. It is not about doing something different that later the client does not want. So I think, as I mentioned, with the H45 CPU, putting it at the mainstream price point. The 16-inch better for productivity… so we bring something different to the consumer, to make sure we can win the market.

The future of ASUS

To end the interview, I would like to talk a bit about the future. With cloud gaming on the rise, the laptops of the future may not need to be as powerful if you just want to play a game. Are you making any decision to adapt the market to this type of players?

Yes. I think the main issue is still latency. Google with Stadia was the king in this area, but in the fight there are some limitations that they have not yet been able to overcome. Perhaps one day the technology will be ready at once. I would say that it would be necessary to overcome poor performance, disconnect from 5G… many things could be done, but it will still take a while.

Also, people are living in different areas. In the cities there are no problems with the connection, but in small towns the internet connection is still a big challenge. So the time will come, but for now, cloud gaming and competition is still a long way off.

How do you imagine the laptop in 5 years?

About this we have our discussions with our partners like Intel or Microsoft. You have to listen to the wishes of the people. I think people want a very powerful laptop but they don’t want to feel its weight on their back. Something very light and very thin, very powerful, offering all the computing they need. I think that is being worked on. That’s what Microsoft and others are working on. For both gaming and productivity teams; work is being done in that direction.

Within the framework of the IFA in Berlin we were able to talk to Rex Lee, Marketing Director at ASUS.…

Within the framework of the IFA in Berlin we were able to talk to Rex Lee, Marketing Director at ASUS.…

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