Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc. (華碩) said Friday it will add Qualcomm Inc. and MediaTek Inc. to the chipset supplier list of its ZenFone 2 range later this year in a move to diversify its smartphone component suppliers.
The original ZenFone, launched in January last year and based on Intel Corp. chips, has become a hit in the market, with monthly shipments of 1.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014, Asustek CEO Jerry Shen (沈振來) told an investor conference.
Seeking to double its smartphone shipments to 17 million units in 2015, Asustek launched a 4G-enabled second-generation ZenFone powered by an Intel chip last month for the higher-end market.
It will also introduce a lower-priced Qualcomm-based variant in the second quarter to target the mainstream market, Shen said.
For 3G phones that are popular in markets like India, the company plans to launch a MediaTek-based ZenFone in the second half of 2015 as the successor to the current Intel-based models, he said.
Breaking down ZenFone shipments by the three suppliers, Shen forecast that roughly 40-50 percent of the shipments will use Qualcomm chips, with the remaining 50-60 percent split by Intel and MediaTek.
Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the ZenFone 2 will hit stores in March in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and France.
The 5.5-inch phablet will then head to Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, the United States and Italy in April.
Japan will be added to the sales network in April or May, while stores in Brazil are expected to start selling the ZenFone 2 in June, according to Asustek.
The ZenFone 2 features a 5.5-inch full-HD touchscreen, a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 3,000mAh battery and 4G LTE connectivity.
The Taiwanese company shipped 4.5 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2014, beating its target of 4 million units and bringing the annual total to 8.5 million units.
(By Jeffrey Wu)