13 May 2021
As we have entered the new year, it is pretty obvious to expect new phones to follow. Up until now, we have seen many manufacturers taking the wraps off their new offerings, but we have a lot more to explore as we are more or less at the start of this year.
Looks like the new rumor mill has started for Asus's upcoming Zenfone phones. The Taiwanese-based company recently launched its ROG Phone 5 gaming phone and it is reportedly prepping the next Zenfone series. According to some speculations and early findings, the new series could be called the Zenfone 8 and this time, Asus might add more than two phones in the series.
Recently, Google inadvertently leaked the names of some unreleased phones and that list included “Zenfone 8 Flip” as well. So, we might have already something in our hands to proceed from here. But, new findings by sleuths at XDA Developers have more to offer so to add more substantiality to the existence of this series.
While inspecting the kernel source code of the Asus ROG Phone 5, the tech publication discovered references to potentially three new flagship Asus phones. The strings of code haven’t explicitly mentioned the names of these phones but the codenames and their related references pose a good hint at the Zenfone 8 series.
The newly found phones are code-named “SAKE,” “PICASSO,” “VODKA.” The fact we believe them to be belonging to an upcoming Zenfone series is that the Zenfone 7 was also code-named on cocktail drinks - “TEQUILA.” So, this suggests Asus is opting for the same naming convention this time as well. As spotted, there are references to “SAKE_PLUS” and “VODKA_PLUS” in a single file in the kernel source code, suggesting there could be more variants of the two alleged phones. While the codename suggests the phones could be from the upcoming Zenfone series, they do not offer any direct indication that the spotted phones belong to the Zenfone 8 series.
The report from the tech publication refers to the ASUS PixelMaster Camera app for further investigation. Upon close inspection, they found out that the “SAKE” could be the Zenfone 8 “Mini,” since the associated information reflects it so.
As XDA Developers has deduced it, the configuration file for the device mentions a 5.92-inch screen and is also referred to as a “small phone.” So, this somewhat tells that the mini variant of the Zenfone 8 has popped up. The software further tells that phone supports a 120Hz refresh rate and FHD+ resolution. The reporters were able to spot two image sensors as well – 64MP Sony IMX686 and new Sony IMX663.
While the phone with the codename “VODKA” is pretty elusive, the “PICASSO” appears to the Zenfone 8, a direct successor to the Zenfone 7. Primarily because the configuration file for the “VODKA” in the PixelMaster software suggests two phones have the same 6.67-inch Samsung-made OLED panel and FHD+ resolution. Also, it shows similar camera hardware to the Zenfone 7 series, with the exception of an additional 24MP image sensor that is defined as the “front” sensor in the kernel. This looks strange as the Zenfone “Flip” phones do not carry a separate front-camera. However, this can’t alone dismiss the fact that this is not a “Zenfone 8 Flip” phone.
Well, this is just the start, we might learn more about the series as soon.