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Asus may have accidentally leaked the upcoming ROG Phone 6, Zenfone 9

Official Android updates may top the list of unusual places to come across leaks for upcoming smartphones. But that might have been exactly what transpired with Asus when the company issued a sought-after Android 12 update for the Zenfone 8 and Zenfone 8 Flip devices. The update reportedly contains references to two of Asus’ most important smartphone launches for 2022 — the ROG Phone 5 and the Zenfone 9.

The Raimstor — an eagle-eyed member of the Asus ZenTalk forum — was the first to spot references to these upcoming Asus devices. Apparently, the forum member came across a hidden setting for a gesture feature that lets users go back to a page by double-tapping the rear panel. To make it easier for people and explain how the feature works, Asus has included the sketch of a hitherto unseen smartphone within the setting menu.

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Is this the Zenfone 9?

And it is exactly this sketch that seems to have piqued the interest of Asus fanboys (yes, they exist) across the planet, with some of them insisting that the handset shown in the sketch could be an upcoming member of the Zenfone 9 family — specifically the Asus Zenfone 9.

A screenshot may show the unreleased Asus Zenfone 9 smartphone.
The Raimstor/ Zentalk Forums

The device seen in the image features a dual-camera configuration, and upon closer inspection — which literally meant zooming into the leaked image — we figured that the rear camera setup consists of a 50MP primary sensor and a 12MP ultr-wide shooter. The phone is also notable for its iPhone-like boxy design, which seems to be a departure from Asus’ existing Zenfone lineup that has curved edges.

Now, there is a good chance that the “Zenfone 9” here may just be an innocuous placeholder that Asus has no intentions of launching in its current form. But even if this was the result of someone’s imagination running wild, we are excited at the prospect of getting to see a redesigned Zenfone 9 this year.

A possible ROG Phone 6

And with that, let us come to the supposed Asus ROG Phone 6 — the second Asus smartphone that the recent Android 12 update may have inadvertently leaked. This one comes courtesy of former XDA Developers chief Mishaal Rahman, who managed to unearth the image of what is clearly a ROG phone that does not exist right now.

A possible early render of the Asus ROG Phone 6.
Mishaal Rahman/ Twitter

The image, in fact, clearly says it is the ROG 6. Like the Zenfone 9, you saw above, this one too gets the boxy design treatment — and might very well signify Asus’ design theme for 2020.

Asus typically refreshes its ROG phone lineup to coincide with the Mobile World Congress every year, while the Zenfone lineup follows suit a couple of months later. It would be interesting to see if the 2022 ROG Phone and Zenfone 9 lineup does end up looking like these early leaks. It’s unlikely either of these phones will be announced at Asus’ The Incredible Unfolds event at CES 2022 tomorrow, since that clearly hints at a foldable.

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Asus hasn’t conformed to following market trends for several years now. It has embraced the niche, becoming master of gaming smartphones with the ROG Phone line, producing the most versatile selfie phone on the market with the Zenfone Flip phones, and has eschewed the big-screen trend to make a compact, high performance smartphone this year with the Zenfone 8.

Yet it still sometimes feels under appreciated, and its efforts to do things differently don’t always get the attention they deserve. Why? Despite being incredibly transparent about some aspects of its phone business, it’s not at all in one of the most important — when you can actually buy one. There is a good reason though, and understanding it will help understand Asus better.
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