ASUS unveils Alexa-powered mesh Wi-Fi system, gigabit LTE laptop, ZenFone Max smartphone

At CES 2018, ASUS announced several new products for connected homes and offices, including a router offering Wi-Fi speeds of up to 6000 Mbps.

CES 2018: The products and companies to watch
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • At CES 2018, ASUS unveiled a number of new connected devices including laptops, routers, and smartphones.
  • The new devices include the ASUS Lyra Voice, Lyra Trio, RT-AX88U, NovaGo, and ZenFone Max Plus (M1).

On Monday at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, ASUS revealed a new line of devices aimed at improving connectivity across the home and office, and leveraging Amazon's Alexa to increase productivity. The tools may be particularly useful for remote workers or small businesses, as noted by our sister site ZDNet.

The ASUS Lyra Voice--winner of the CES 2018 Innovation award--is a two-in-one mesh Wi-Fi system and voice assistant, according to a press release. It includes stereo speakers, a microphone, and integrated Alexa voice control. Users can work with Alexa directly through the Lyra Voice, as they would with an Echo device--putting another nail in the coffin for Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant, which has failed to gain much enterprise traction, as ZDNet reported.

Lyra Voice communicates with other connected Lyra hubs to ensure there are no Wi-Fi dead zones in a house, and to more easily connect other smart home devices, the release noted. The device can be controlled via the Lyra mobile app.

SEE: CES 2018: The Big Trends for Business (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)

ASUS also announced the Lyra Trio, a dual-band, multi-hub mesh Wi-Fi system with 3x3 MIMO technology to boost Wi-Fi connections. It includes always-on privacy protection for all smart devices as well, which may help protect against the many security threats posed by the Internet of Things (IoT).

In other Wi-Fi announcements, ASUS unveiled the RT-AX88U, a dual-band router that includes the next-generation 802.11ax wireless standard for Wi-Fi speeds of up to 6000 Mbps, according to the release. The technology provides 4X faster throughput than existing products with connected devices in areas with a lot of traffic, ASUS noted. The router also offers easy connectivity for multiple users, with eight Gigabit LAN ports.

The Lyra Voice, Lyra Trio, and RT-AX88U will be available in the first half of 2018, and pricing will be announced at launch, according to the release.

The ASUS NovaGo, an ultrathin, Gigabit LTE-capable laptop revealed at CES, features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC platform, and a Gigabit Snapdragon X16 LTE modem for download speeds of up to 1Gbps. It also has up to a 22-hour battery life, and runs on Windows 10 S. The NovaGo will be available starting at $599 MSRP in the first half of 2018.

ASUS also unveiled the first model in its new ZenFone Max Series of high-battery-capacity smartphones: The ASUS ZenFone Max Plus (M1). The phone includes a 5.7-inch full-view display with dual rear cameras, facial and fingerprint recognition technology, and a 4130mAh battery, and is aimed at users who must be connected all day, which could be a good option as a backup phone for business travelers due to its battery power and low cost. The ZenFone Max Plus (M1) will be available starting at $229 MSRP in February 2018, according to the release.

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Image: ASUS