The world’s 5th largest PC manufacturer, ASUS is all set to expand its operations. How does it plan to do that? Well, ASUS has been manufacturing smart phones for some time now, surprising right? The company revealed recently that it plans on targeting more number of US smart phone users to come up as one of the top mobile manufacturers in the US.
Currently, a large chunk of the smart phone user base in the US owns carrier provided smartphones which mostly belong to high end brands like Apple and Samsung. Other positions are acquired by companies like HTC and LG which are putting their best into providing customers with the best smartphone experience at relatively affordable prices.
Asus’ strategy is simple. It plans on directly selling smartphones via websites like amazon.com and others instead of making them opt for the traditional wireless carrier contacts. Asus believes that this will not only help customers get affordable yet high-end smartphones but also aid Asus in expanding its user base in the US market.
Asus has recently released its latest ZenFone 2 all over Asia and Europe. The phone is to make an appearance in the US markets following the strategy as explained above. The ZenFone 2 will be directly available to customers unlocked and contract free.
What does the Chairman say?
The Asus chairman, Jonney Shih made an appearance at the company’s ZenFone 2 event earlier this week. When asked about the strategy Asus is planning on devising to make the company’s smartphones a market success, he said, “We already have a very strong foundation for the rest of the world, I think if we can grab a good portion from the unlocked [market] first, I think that’s already a good start. By going after consumers with solid, but affordable products, Asus hopes to build its reputation in the mobile business. From there, he added, Asus plans to expand its relationships with US wireless carriers. “That’s the step-by-step approach”.
How exactly will Asus will be manufacturing “Affordable” smartphones
As mentioned earlier, Asus is about to release its latest martphone, the ZenFone 2 all throughout the US. The company’s strategy being, to provide users with affordable “unlocked” phones without carriers in between, one may question, what is an affordable phone.
The Zenfone 2 is starting at $199 for the device with 16 GB internal storage with the addition of a $100 for a $64 GB version. Are these smartphones the cheapest in the market? Certainly not. But with a 13 megapixel camera and a 5.5 inches display featuring an Intel processor, is it attractive enough? Undoubtedly, yes.
Asus plans on providing the customers with affordable smartphones by not cutting up on the specs. Instead, the company is deploying tactics such as avoiding an all steel body by opting for a plastic one to cut manufacturing costs. This ensures that while the customers will get a phone with all the high-end features, it may be a turn off for those who may want to go for a more “elegant looking” phone.
Asus is not alone in wanting a little attention from the US smartphone user base. It is closely followed by companies like Huawei who have been offering similar perks to their customers.
So while Asus has to fight tech giants like Samsung and Apple and some mediocre ones like HTC it has a great deal of competition among the low end producers as well. There are already some very affordable low end smartphones available out there do Asus has to really lure in the user base.
Current Market Trends
More than 70 percent of the smartphone users in the US own an iPhone or a Samsung device almost all of them on carrier provided contracts. The other less than 30 percent user base is largely dominated by brands like LG, HTC and Motorola. So, where actually does Asus stand? As of now, nowhere. A slight idea can be gathered from the fact that most US smartphone users do not have the slightest idea if Asus is even a smartphone manufacturer or not.
With the release of exotic high tech gadgets by the smartphone industry giants, Apple and Samsung, there popularity among the US smartphone customers has been on a rise again. Both of these have a dedicated user base which is not easy at all to steal. Asus will have to work really, really hard therefore, if it intends to stay in the US smartphone market for long.
Although Asus is trying really hard to get noticed in the US market, it is a well-known fact that the average US smartphone buyer depends upon his carrier to get a new cell phone. It is also an undeniable fact that this method has had some real advantages for the customers. For instance, an iPhone 6 costs $650 unlocked but the same can be bought for only under $199 in a contract.
The carriers, recently, have been trying to lessen the subsidies by making the customers pay the actual price of the phones which is the only ray of hope for companies like Asus.
If the subsidies are withdrawn this will result in a spike in the smartphone prices and when that happens, Asus can prove to be a real winner by offering a smartphone at $199-$299 as compared to the iPhones or the Samsung devices which will go far beyond the reach of the ordinary customer.
The only thing that Asus needs to be focused on, despite all these bumps in the road is the smartphone’s quality itself. Smartphone users are more aware than ever of the hardware, software specs and therefore, expect the companies to deliver their best. After all, that is what the competition is all about.
If Asus remains successful in delivering the bang for the buck, undoubtedly it will make its way to the top not only in the US but in the International market as well. As for now, all we can do is wait for the events to unfold.