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Fast Charge: The ROG Phone 8 Pro reveal was a genuine CES 2024 surprise

OPINION: The smartphone market is usually a pretty predictable one. It’s a mature industry that has largely settled into a routine, with most smartphones having a year in the spotlight before being replaced by newer, shinier models. 

However, every now and again we’ll get an outlier that takes the rules and rips them up like a kid excitedly unwrapping presents on Christmas Day. In 2024, that outlier is Asus. More specifically, the Asus ROG Phone 8 and Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro which made a surprise debut at CES 2024 earlier this week. 

That’s particularly surprising as CES isn’t a show where you’ll often see major flagship smartphone releases. CES is usually more of a teaser expo, taking place in early January every year to provide journalists and industry players with an idea of the kind of tech to expect throughout the year and beyond. 

Sure, you’ll get smaller players like TCL and Nokia that tend to reveal US-focused smartphones at the show, but you won’t find bigger brands like Samsung, Google or Apple flaunting the latest smartphone tech. If anything, the Barcelona-based MWC is where you’re more likely to see major phone releases. 

With that said, it’s even rarer to see a CES smartphone launch with the product scheduled for release weeks later – but that’s precisely what Asus has done with the ROG Phone 8 collection, which is up for pre-order now ahead of a 31 January release. 

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition in hand
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

That’s not the only reason it’s so surprising to see the ROG Phone 8 series at CES though; it’s also because of how early the unveiling is compared to the usual one-year smartphone lifecycle. 

That’s because the ROG Phone 8 series’ predecessor, the ROG Phone 7 collection, only debuted in April 2023. That means that the ROG Phone 7 series only got eight months in the limelight before being usurped by newer models – that’s almost unheard of in the current tech landscape. 

Harking back to my earlier analogy, that’d be the equivalent of the kid getting presents at Christmas and then getting another bunch of Christmas presents in August. That’s great for the kid (or us, the consumers), but it can’t be financially viable for the parents (in this case, Asus).

That’s especially true as interest in the ROG Phone 7 collection will essentially cease with the release of the newer models.

Could it be a meaningful shift to the ROG Phone’s release schedule to ensure it’s one of the first to get that year’s new flagship chipset? That would make sense for a gaming phone where the best performance possible is essential. Or is this turn of events because of the ROG Phone 7 sales being less than Asus had hoped for? 

It’s likely we’ll never know for sure, but it’ll be interesting to see how the ROG Phone release schedule develops with this year’s pivot to utilise CES.

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