ASUS discloses the culprit for ZenFone 6 delays

Considering it’s mid-August, most people outside of Europe wanting a ZenFone 6 have grown increasingly impatient and frustrated. It’s still not available in big numbers outside of Europe, and some markets are still waiting for communication from ASUS about when it will be available to buy. Things aren’t all negative though. The 2019 Q2 ASUS investor conference in Taipei, Taiwan yesterday offers up news that you are going to like. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

ASUS executives answered a variety of questions and one of the topics was about the ZenFone 6 production issues. The topic of ZenFone 6 inventory shortages has been well documented and it’s only natural to come up at an investor conference.

According to one executive, the main culprit for the delays was the unique material, liquid metal. This material was chosen for the flip camera housing and was a key ingredient in making the mechanism and module strong and reliable. A lot of experimentation was done during the development of the ZenFone 6 but liquid metal was chosen as the best option.

A lesser material would have certainly put in doubt the durability of the key innovation of the ZenFone 6. The company needed to exceed customer expectations according to ASUS executives by making the flip camera extra durable.

Innovations sometimes comes at a cost. The execution on getting units onto store shelves has been an epic challenge for the company largely due to the unique nature of the ZenFone 6. Considering how innovative the module is, there is a greater risk of delay or slowdown in the production department. It’s certainly not your typical production run of smartphones.

“Our early supply was not great. However we have resolved that situation.”

Based on the above quote, it sounds like ASUS can ramp up production at this point. When they say it’s resolved, clearly they don’t mean they have resolved the inventory woes. It doesn’t necessarily mean there are thousands of units being shipped to markets as we write this. What it sounds like is the production (material supply) issues are resolved which means units should start rolling out more quickly to the many waiting markets.

We did learn previously that ASUS underestimated the demand for the ZenFone 6 and that really started them off at a disadvantage. Then on top of that they need liquid metal for the flip camera mechanism which slowed things down further. Of course we could also mention that the Twilight Silver color also required more time in production to create. A host of production challenges for ASUS to deal with but the company hasn’t had a ZenFone in such high demand before.

We’ve had to say this once too many times but the wait for many of you should be over soon. Folks in the UK aren’t happy because ASUS started the rollout and then pulled it back without an update as to what’s going on. Now that ASUS executives have spoken and said the production issues are resolved, surely there are no more excuses. Are you still hanging in there for your chance to buy a ZenFone 6?

[source: ASUS Investor]

ASUS US online store now sold out (temporarily) of ZenFone 6 pre-orders

Update: We have breaking news here for the US/Canada market. First time ever seeing a US based retailer with IN STOCK units and shipping tomorrow (Aug 13). Full details here.

It came and it went. The long awaited pre-order phase for the ZenFone 6 in the United States is on hold at least for one retailer. The official ASUS US online store has now sold out of every ZenFone 6 model that was available less than two weeks ago.

First it was the Twilight Silver selling out. Not a big surprise given its unique and appealing visuals. The Twilight Silver has also been a more difficult color to manufacture for ASUS which hasn’t helped matters. Needless to say, if and when you get the chance to order one, don’t delay and be quick on that purchase!

So with the US ASUS online store temporarily out of stock, there is still one. There is one retailer in the US currently offering pre-orders on the Midnight Black models and we have those details here. This particular retailer has been a bit inconsistent on their messaging on a couple different fronts but over the years they are a trusted and strong ASUS retailer. Of course 3rd party options exists as well, but that’s different than dealing with a trusted big name retail brand.

First, the pre-order date was changed a couple of time leading up to the actual start date. Second, we’ve seen a couple different shipping dates (estimates) which have seemingly been removed at this point. Is the date buried on the page and we missed it? Or is the retailer struggling to get answers from ASUS? We tend to think the latter if we are being totally honest.

Then there is Amazon. We see a listing yes, but it’s not Amazon selling it. This is highly unusual as Amazon is typically the first to be selling ASUS phones and other products. The fact Amazon isn’t taking pre-orders is puzzling and a bit concerning. Most likely again it’s a matter of communication or lack thereof. It would make sense that Amazon wants certainty before putting up a listing and it’s likely ASUS cannot provide certainty at this point. Amazon is a retail giant and if you can’t supply them enough units then they are likely to hold off.

Certainly this is a double edged sword for ASUS. Nice to have high demand for a product but that means more units required which is something that isn’t a quick fix to deal with. I can see the sweat trickling down the brow of ASUS executives as they scramble. No doubt they want to keep people happy out there and with each passing day they are likely feeling more and more pressure. We certainly hope the dust settles soon and inventory catches up and other markets can get their pre-order opportunities as well.

Bought a ZenFone? Three things you must do right away. (part 2 of 3)

We like to keep things real around here. Yes, we cover the ZenFone series exclusively but that doesn’t mean we’re going to avoid certain subjects. It’s not worth sacrificing our credibility or steering people in the wrong direction in order to hide some negative experiences. All brands have issues and it’s certainly not just ASUS. Samsung Galaxy Fold anyone? Apple iPhone battery replacements? With that in mind, here is part two in our 3-part series of things you should do right away after buying a ZenFone.

Most retailers these days have excellent return policies that are customer friendly. When it comes to mobile phone, it’s common in North America to see a 15-day or even a 30-day return policy. If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, you potentially have a painless way out. This advice could also spare you that pesky yet common 15% restocking fee.

STEP 2: KEEP THE RETAIL BOX AND ALL CONTENTS

Maybe there is just something about your new ZenFone you dislike. Perhaps the phone is defective which can happen early-on with tech products regardless of brand.

To make the return process as seamless as possible, we strongly recommend you keep every single item that was included in the box. That includes all the plastic wrappers. Stick everything back in the box and keep it in a closet. If all goes well, you won’t need to dig it out for a long while.

You may be tempted to use the included ZenEar earbuds that come with the ZenFone 6 and other premium ZenFone models. If you already have earbuds or headphones, we recommend you leave those in the box in the original wrapper. Even if you’re tempted, leave them until you at least pass that 15-day or 30-day return window.

On a couple different occasions, keeping our retail boxes and all included pieces allowed us to simply bring back our defective ZenFone and walk out with a brand new replacement. We were able to avoid dealing with ASUS warranty which is a big win in our books. We felt a lot more confident walking up to the customer service desk with the complete contents and the positive outcome was incredibly satisfying.

Regardless if you need to return the phone to the retailer, keeping all the box contents makes it a much easier sell your used phone on places like Craigslist. Having the retail box and all the contents gives the impression of newness and care. You might even be able to use the phrase “lightly used” in your ad! Be assured you can get more money for your used phone and our personal experience confirms this. It works!

Perhaps this advice is just common sense. For many of us hopefully that’s true. Everyone wants to believe their phone isn’t defective or that it’s going to meet their every need but until you’ve made the purchase you simply don’t know for sure. Part three of this series is coming up soon!