ROG Ally X to Arrive in India Soon as Asus Doubles Down on Its Handheld Bet: In Conversation With Arnold Su

Computex 2024 is larger than ever, with 1,500 technology companies participating, showcasing their products across 4,500 booths. It’s hard, however, to look past the single central theme that dominates the event: artificial intelligence. The tech trade show, which opened on Tuesday, is set to be marked by AI announcements, with semiconductor giants Nvidia and AMD kicking off proceedings by unveiling new AI chips in back-to-back keynote presentations in Taipei. The focus is firmly on AI computing, especially since Computex comes days after Microsoft unveiled its new line of Copilot+ AI PCs.

On Monday, Microsoft’s OEM partner Asus debuted its first AI-powered Copilot+ laptops, featuring AMD’s latest Ryzen AI 9 HX 370 processor, and detailed its plans to integrate AI with all aspects of its business at a Computex launch event. A day before it announced its new line of AI PCs, however, Asus introduced the ROG Ally X, an updated version of its handheld gaming PC that launched last year. The company’s latest portable comes with double the battery size than the Asus ROG Ally, more storage and more memory, alongside a host of other tweaks and improvements over the original.

The Asus ROG Ally is one of the few gaming handhelds that officially launched in India, a market where the Taiwanese firm has grown to become the leader in the gaming PC segment. The updated ROG Ally X, too, will arrive in India sometime later this year.

At least, that’s what Asus plans, according to Arnold Su, Vice President of the company’s consumer and gaming PC business in the country. Gadgets 360 caught up with Su after Asus’ launch event Monday at the sidelines of Computex and discussed the new handheld, AI PCs, and more.

The Asus ROG Ally X at Computex 2024

“As a company, we don’t want to just sell a box. We want to sell technology,” Su said, speaking about Asus’ decision to bring the ROG Ally to the Indian market. The handheld debuted in India in July 2023, just two months after it was unveiled globally. “All the latest technology, we want to bring to every country, not only India.”

According to him, Asus is willing to test customer acceptance and demand for its new products. Whether Indian gamers are ready to embrace a dedicated handheld gaming device is a secondary question; First, the company must be bold enough to show its latest technologies to potential customers. “If I don’t show, I never get a chance to know whether it can be sold,” Su said.

In a market dominated by mobile gaming, dedicated gaming devices and consoles leave a small footprint in India. The burgeoning handheld sector remains even more niche. Segment leaders Nintendo Switch and Valve’s Steam Deck, while readily available across online retailers, aren’t officially sold in India and the two companies don’t plan to change that anytime soon.

The Lenovo Legion Go made its debut in September last year but remains stuck in the “coming soon” phase in the Indian market. The MSI Claw A1M, on the other hand, launched in India in March, but availability remains a concern.

Asus, however, doesn’t believe in waiting. Su said that the company’s quickness in bringing its latest products to India has driven it to the second place in the consumer PC and the top spot in the gaming PC segments in the country. “It’s our time to market. If you look at the past five years, whenever the latest technology comes, no matter CPU or GPU, we are always either the first or the second one to make the product available in India,” he said.

The ROG Ally X also fits with Asus’ approach to launching gaming PCs in diverse form factors. According to Su, when it comes to gaming-focussed devices, companies initially only talked about performance. “You see, we are the first company to launch a two-in-one gaming laptop, our Rog Flow X13. And we are the first company to launch a detachable gaming laptop, our Z13. And in our form factor, we have Zephyrus for thin and light (laptops), we have Strix, we have Strix Scar. So, for gamers, even for the gaming market, it’s not just powerful gaming machines (that’s important); it’s different segments. And we ensure ourselves are able to be present in each of the segments,” Su said.

arnold su arnold su

Asus’ Arnold Su said that ROG Ally should arrive in India sometime in 2024
Photo Credit: Asus

Asus has indeed made its presence felt in the gaming handheld segment. While official sales figures aren’t clear, as of January 2024, the ROG Ally has reportedly sold around 70,000 to 80,000 units in India since its launch last year. “At the initial stage, sales were really good, but then they drove back to normal,” Su said. “The main reason is that when a customer comes to our store, they still want to buy a gaming device, and for the customer who is well educated, they already have a first device. They are okay to spend money to buy the second device. ROG Ally will still be treated as a second device.”

Customers who want to buy their first gaming device, according to Su, want a proper gaming machine. And for the ROG Ally’s price band, they can get a gaming laptop from Asus’ TUF range. But the response to the niche device, which debuted in India with price tag of Rs. 69,990, likely bodes well for its successor, the ROG Ally X. And it helps that the handheld’s latest iteration improves on its predecessor in almost every aspect on paper. It still runs Windows 11 and it’s still powered by the Zen 4 AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme platform, but it comes with a significantly larger 80Wh battery, 24GB of RAM (up from 16GB on the standard ROG Ally) and 1TB SSD storage (up from 512GB). These upgrades kick the price of the handheld up by about $100, as well — coming in at $799.

While there’s no clear launch timeline or local pricing details yet, the ROG Ally X should arrive in India later this year. When the handheld launches in India, it will likely be available at Asus’ 270 stores in the country, each one of which has had the original ROG Ally on display for customers to touch and feel before they decide to buy it. That was, according to Su, Asus’ first intension — to showcase the technology, even if it’s too niche. “No matter, they want to buy, or they don’t want to buy,” Su said. “At least they will know Asus has these products.”

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