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Taiwan's Asustek reveals its new 4G ZenFone

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's Asustek (華碩) Computer Inc. on Tuesday took the veil off a 4G LTE-enabled version of its low-cost ZenFone range in the hopes of increasing its popularity in Taiwan's smartphone market.

The ZenFone 5 LTE supports the full-spectrum Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network for Taiwan and comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz quad-core processor — an upgrade from the original ZenFone 5's Intel Atom dual-core chip.

Even with the upgrades, the new 4G handset costs only NT$6,990 (US$233) for a 16GB model, undercutting models with similar specifications from competitors like the Sony Xperia M2 at NT$9,900 and the HTC Desire 610 at NT$7,990.

Also expanding its portfolio of 4G products is the new LTE version of the PadFone S. The 5-inch phone starts from NT$9,999 and supports wireless charging.

Asustek Vice President Benson Lin said his company sold 105,000 ZenFones in Taiwan in May, earning the phone a place among the top three players with an estimated 14 16 percent share of the local market.

The PC vendor further increased sales in Taiwan to over 200,000 ZenFones in June, including 100,000 ZenFone 5s and 45,000 of the 6-inch ZenFone 6, according to Lin.

He noted that the ZenFone 5 had been ranked the bestselling smartphone locally for two consecutive months.

With the launch of the ZenFone 5 LTE, Lin forecast that the ZenFone range “will remain the bestseller in July” and reach a higher sales volume than June.

The ZenFone models, which come priced as low as US$99, were unveiled in January as Asustek's answer to Chinese handset maker Xiaomi Corp.'s low-cost Redmi series (also called Red Rice).

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