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Asus ZenFone with optical zoom camera expected for CES

YouTube tease points to optical zoom camera tech for the latest Asus smartphone, with a CES reveal just days away

Asus is no stranger to announcing wild and innovative products at CES, even if they don’t actually make it to retail – just look at the Transformer Book Duet revealed at last year’s show. CES 2015 looks set for something else a little different from the norm, only it will come in the shape of a smartphone rather than a laptop, if this cryptic YouTube tease is any indication.

The Morse Code teaser spells out “optical zoom”, which would suggest the upcoming smartphone will use a new hardware camera sensor to give it the edge over the competition when it comes to shooting long distance subjects. Last year the company demonstrated a dual-lens sensor that captured both near and distant photos to create a zoomed-in image, although at the time it wasn’t being used in any products. That may now have changed for 2015.

This is the latest in a series of teasers and cryptic messages for what is likely the first premium ZenFone, which will go up against big name brands like Samsung, LG and Sony rather than compete at the more affordable end of the smartphone scale. Earlier videos had shown a dual-camera sensor, but glimpses of the back of the handset appear to only have space for a single camera module, with the flash positioned above it. That could mean Asus has developed some kind of software post-processing rather than rely on hardware – after all, HTC has proved unique camera features aren’t always winners with the One (m8)‘s Ultrapixel sensor.

Other details surrounding the handset are still a mystery, as is what else Asus is planning to announce at the show. CEO Jerry Shen has confirmed the company is planning to launch a successor to the excellent ZenWatch in Q3 2015, which is likely too far away to expect a CES reveal, although there’s a possibility two simpler, cheaper wearables designed around fitness will get a Las Vegas announcement.

Whatever the company has planned, we’ll be at the press conference on Monday to see everything as it’s officially revealed.

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