(Courtesy of Asustek Computer Inc.)
Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc. launched a smaller model of its Padfone series Wednesday in Taiwan to capitalize on growing demand for mid-tier smartphones.
The Padfone mini is actually a 4.3-inch smartphone that comes with a 7-inch tablet dock into which the phone fits, transforming it into a tablet computer.
Costing NT$11,990 (US$405), the Padfone mini sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.4GHz processor, the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system, a dual-SIM card slot and an 8-megapixel camera.
Asustek Vice President Benson Lin predicted that his company will sell 100,000 Padfone minis in Taiwan during its nine-month life cycle, giving Asustek a 10 percent market share of the NT$10,000-NT$15,000 price band.
"It's an aggressive and challenging target, but we are confident we can achieve it," Lin said during the announcement of the product.
He said the downsized Padfone will also launch in the United States, Europe and the rest of Asia, excluding China, where the company is still evaluating the best timing to sell the device.
Asustek projected at a Nov. 13 meeting with investors that it will ship 5 million smartphones in 2014, up from an estimated 1.5 million units this year, as the company plans to partner with more tier-one telecom operators globally in the first half of 2014.
The company sold over 10,000 Padfones each month on its home turf between April and August, Asustek Chief Executive Officer Jerry Shen said in an interview with tech blog Engadget published Wednesday.
Asustek plans to break into the U.S. market for the first time as it is developing a new model of the Padfone series for a "big operator" there, for launch in the second quarter of 2014, according to Shen.
(By Jeffrey Wu)