Based on what has been revealed at Google’s I/O developer conference that happened just a few weeks ago, Asus’ upcoming phablet, the ZenFone AR, is nearing its official release date, and the device will be hitting the United States mobile market some time this summer as an exclusive offering from Verizon Wireless. According to Engadget, the handset will be making its worldwide debut in Taiwan by mid-June, and it should launch in US store shelves either in late June or in early July.
There is some considerable excitement for the ZenFone AR, at least for mobile users who consider themselves as hardcore tech enthusiasts. Asus’ phablet offering, after all, is the second smartphone ever to have support for Tango (after Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro), the augmented reality platform developed by Google. On top of that, the ZenFone AR holds the distinction of being the first device ever to support both Google’s Tango and also its virtual reality platform, Daydream (other devices that have Daydream compatibility include Google’s own Pixel and Pixel XL, and Motorola’s Moto Z, Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid).
It has been nearly half a year since the tech world first saw the ZenFone AR, and Android fans may be delighted to know Asus has been busy the last few months polishing its device. The Taiwanese tech giant actually took the time to conduct internal trials on the device, specifically testing more than a hundred existing Tango AR mobile apps. Based on the results of those tests, some 40 to 50 of those AR apps now perform well on the ZenFone AR. As more and more apps get updated for Android 7.0 Nougat, the number of stable apps should increase. As explained by Jerry Shen, the chief executive officer of Asus, to Engadget, the population of Tango apps is projected to grow to over 1,000 in 2018, and Asus will help in expanding the popularity of those apps by joining forces with Google in hosting AR developer conferences in the near future.
First unveiled back in January early this year, the ZenFone AR comes with a 5.7 inch WQHD display screen with a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels. That impressive display is flanked by a whopping 23 megapixel camera on the rear side and an 8 megapixel selfie shooter on the front side. As far as hardware specifications are concerned, the phablet packs Qualcomm’s four core 2.35 GigaHertz Snapdragon 821 chip set (with the Adreno 530 graphics processor unit), generously aided by 6 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM) and 32 gigabytes of built in storage, plus micro SD support for up to two terabytes. The device is also fitted with a 3,300 mAh battery and comes preloaded with Google’s Android 7.0 Nougat mobile operating system, plus Asus’ own ZenUI 3.0.
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