ASUSEditor: Phil Nickinson
An Android tablet pioneer now branches out into more device categories
ASUS was one of the first manufacturers to get serious about Android on tablets, and in recent years it's expanded into the world of smartphones, "phablet"-class devices and even wearables. The Taiwanese manufacturer has a history in PC hardware — in 2013 it was the fifth-largest PC vendor by sales, and it continues to hold a spot as one of the leading makers of internal parts such as motherboards and graphics cards. The company is led by chairman Jonney Shih, who often makes energetic appearances at press conferences and ASUS launch events.
ASUS' first notable Android product was the original Transformer device, then called the ASUS EeePad Transformer, after the company's line of EeePad netbooks. The Android Honeycomb-based slate could be connected to a keyboard attachment to deliver laptop-like functionality. Several generations of Transformers have shipped in the intervening years, but the next big milestone for ASUS was the Google-branded Nexus 7. ASUS manufactured the 2012 and 2013 model Nexus 7s, which remain among the most popular Android slates.
Since then the company has branched out into more device categories, shipping mid and entry-level smartphones in its ZenPhone series, as well as creating smartphones that dock into tablets in its Padfone series. (And, somewhat confusingly, there's also a line of large form factor phones under the Fonepad brand.) In 2014, ASUS entered the wearables market with the Android Wear-powered Zenwatch.
While it has seen considerable success with its Android tablets, ASUS has yet to make much of a dent in the U.S. smartphone market. The quirky ASUS Padfone X launched on AT&T in mid-2014 after extensive delays, and the Zenfone series has yet to make much of an impact outside of Asia.