ASUS is sending the ZenFone 6 to custom ROM and kernel developers

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There’s still plenty of interest in custom development and plenty of devices to choose from that are development-friendly. However, the biggest barriers holding back custom development on a new device are cost and availability. Developers can’t just go out and buy every new phone out there. That’s why, in order to kickstart development on a new product, some brands send a few units to select developers. We’ve seen brands like POCO and OnePlus embrace this model, and now ASUS is following suit to encourage interest in its new ZenFone 6. We worked with ASUS USA to select a few key developers, and we’re now ready to announce the list of developers getting a development unit.

ASUS ZenFone 6 Forums

Until last year, ASUS hasn’t really been a brand we’ve paid much attention to. However, we took notice when the company released the ZenFone Max Pro M1 and its successor, the ZenFone Max Pro M2. Both devices hit all the right marks when it came to hardware specifications for mid-range products: they both had huge 5,000mAh batteries, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, expandable storage, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and near-stock Android. ASUS also caught our attention with the high-end ZenFone 5Z. Although its price was appealing, the phone only had a 3,300mAh battery and its ZenUI software wasn’t that great. With the ZenFone 6, ASUS has brought the best of what they’ve done with their mid-range and flagship products into a single device.

The ASUS ZenFone 6 has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, a large, notch-less and bezel-less 6.4-inch display, a flip camera, expandable storage, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 5,000mAh battery, stereo speakers, near-stock Android Pie, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and more for around $499. It’s as if ASUS looked at forums like Reddit and XDA to decide what features to add to the device, and I’m really impressed by what the ZenFone 6 offers after having used the device for over a week. I have already received two feature updates since launch, and I’m sure there’s a lot more to come as ASUS has committed to rolling out Android Q and Android R for the device.

Besides the ZenFone 6 launch, ASUS had more to surprise us with. The company quickly released a bootloader unlock tool and kernel source code for the device, but the company also reached out to us to help kickstart development. After reaching out to trusted and talented developers, we came up with a list of 10 developers from teams like TWRP, LineageOS, OmniROM, and CarbonROM. We also reached out to other individual developers so that users will have a variety of mods to enjoy.

Here’s the list of developers we chose:

The devices are in the process of shipping out to these developers. Once these developers receive their units, expect to see development pick up on the forums. If you’re interested in buying the ZenFone 6, then check the ASUS Store website or your regional online retailer. The device isn’t available in the U.S. yet, but it’s already available in Europe and will soon be available in India under the “ASUS 6z” name.

I should note that ASUS isn’t formally opening a development program. This is a trial that we’re doing to see how well it goes. We do not have additional devices to send at this time, so please do not email us asking for a unit.

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