ASUS ZenFone 8 “Mini” may pack a 5.9″ 120Hz OLED screen and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888
Earlier this month, ASUS launched its first flagship phone of the year: the ROG Phone 5. It launched earlier than expected yet still added many improvements over last year’s ROG Phone. The ROG Phone 5 isn’t the only flagship phone from ASUS that’s launching in 2021, though. We’re expecting the successor to last year’s ZenFone 7 to make an appearance this year, and new details we’ve spotted from an analysis of kernel source code and firmware shed some light on what to expect from the ASUS ZenFone 8 series.
For a bit of context, we’re expecting multiple phones to launch as part of the ASUS ZenFone 8 series. While last year’s ZenFone 7 added a “Pro” model to the lineup, the successor is rumored to add a “Mini” version that will feature premium specs in a more compact form factor. There’s also the mysterious “ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip” which appeared in a Google support document a few days ago, but we don’t know if the rumored “Mini” and “Flip” are actually one and the same. Still, we can expect there will be at least two phones in the ZenFone 8 series, with the kernel source code and firmware files hinting at a possible third model.
Thanks to a tip from XDA Recognized Developer Freak07, we looked at the kernel source code of the ASUS ROG Phone 5 and discovered references to potentially three new flagship ASUS phones. The three phones are code-named “SAKE”, “PICASSO”, and “VODKA”. For reference, the ZenFone 7 series was code-named “TEQUILA” while the ROG Phone 3 and ROG Phone 5 were code-named “OBIWAN” and “ANAKIN” respectively. We also spotted a reference to “SAKE_PLUS” and “VODKA_PLUS” in a single file in the kernel source code, but we don’t know if these are actually distinct models since no other references appear anywhere else.
While we don’t know which of these three phones belong to the ASUS ZenFone 8 series, we did spot explicit references to the ASUS ZenFone 8 and ASUS ZenFone 8 Flip in the latest version of the ASUS PixelMaster Camera app. However, all three of these phones should be based on Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 mobile platform, at least according to the kernel source code.
At the very least, we expect that “SAKE” will be the rumored ZenFone 8 “Mini” since it is defined with a 5.92″ OLED display and is referred to as a “small phone” in ASUS’s software. The configuration file for the panel also mentions that it’ll support a 120Hz refresh rate and full HD+ (2400×1080) resolution. As for cameras, we spotted only two image sensors for it: a 64MP Sony IMX686 and a new Sony IMX663.
On the other hand, “PICASSO” seems to have the same panel as the ZenFone 7 series: a 6.67″ Samsung-made OLED panel at full HD+ resolution. PICASSO also has very similar camera hardware to the ZenFone 7 series, with the exception of an additional 24MP image sensor that’s strangely defined as the “front” sensor in the kernel. Although, given the oddity of the ZenFone’s flip camera setup, that might not mean it actually has a traditional front-facing camera. Lastly, we don’t really know anything about the rumored “VODKA” device. It’s the most elusive of the three, with very few references to it both in the kernel source code and in the latest firmware.
Here’s a summary of the information we learned about the three phones:
|Specification||ASUS “SAKE”||ASUS “PICASSO”||ASUS “VODKA”|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888|
|Miscellaneous||Cirrus CS35L45 amplifier||Pixelworks i6 visual processor||Unknown|
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.