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ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih hints at upcoming Google Nexus and VR gaming devices

Asus has been fairly quiet over the last few months. The ZenWatch 2 debuted last month and the ZenFone 2 last May, but the company has to be working on some other goodies for the near future.

Chairman Jonney Shih sat down with Trusted Reviews and gave us a few clues as to what might be next for the Taiwanese company. He talked about the company’s relationship with Google (hint: possible Nexus device) and virtual reality. And if those two topics aren’t enough, how about robots?

Related: Asus ZenWatch 2 review

Nexus device

Asus worked with Google for the very popular Nexus 7, which had versions in 2012 and 2013. As it happens, Google went in a different direction in 2014 with the Nexus 9 and partnered with HTC.

So will Asus come back with another Nexus device? Shih didn’t say anything specific: “We have a lot of projects ongoing. Please just stay tuned, you know, stay tuned,” was his statement. This could very well be another tablet, but it could also be a phone. Recently, the company said it was committed to smartphones even more so than PCs.

It’s also possible that Shih might not even be referring to a Nexus product. We already know that Asus will be launching an OnHub router for Google very soon, not to mention other projects Google might be cooking up that don’t fall into the Nexus program.

We will be keeping an eye out for this one.

Virtual reality gaming

Virtual reality (VR) is likely to be one of the hottest things in coming years, and Asus won’t be sitting on the sidelines watching. Shih revealed that virtual reality is already in the plan for the Republic of Gamers division. This division was formed in 2006 with the sole purpose of delivering the most innovative hardware for dedicated gamers. He also mentioned that a VR partnership is in place.

Shih went on to say that the plan is to drive both virtual reality and augmented reality, which could mean a HoloLens-type of product.

Related: Asus ZenFone 2 review

Robots

You might not know that Asus has a robotic division, and Shih had a few things to say about his vision of what robots should be like.

He said that artificial intelligence is still very far off from human intelligence, but more importantly, he doesn’t think it should ever be as smart as humans. His vision is that robots are supposed to help humans, not necessarily be their equal.

Unfortunately he didn’t say when we can expect to see the first Asus-made robot.

Other odds and ends

Shih did talk about a few other subjects like smartwatches and gaming. As to smartwatches, he said that Asus was one of the first companies to offer a decent smartwatch, but there is still work to be done. That work mostly involves the battery life, which Shih thinks needs to reach one week. He said this might be possible with the combination of Android Wear optimizations and different display technologies.

Shih also talked about small-factor gaming PCs versus consoles, and concluded that sometimes consoles are the more advanced since they launch less frequently. In other words, console manufacturers have to plan ahead, and must make a much bigger jump when each console gets launched. On the other hand, PCs can launch every year, so the jump needn’t be as great.