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2/23/2012
01:02 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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ZTE Seeks To Overwhelm Competition With Sheer Volume

Chinese handset maker seeks to make a play for the U.S. market, sees launching eight smartphones at Mobile World Congress as a good start.

ZTE has yet to earn a significant presence in the U.S. smartphone market, but that isn't dampening the firm's ambitions. Not at all.

Thursday, the company announced plans to introduce eight new smartphones at the Mobile World Congress trade show, which kicks off in Barcelona, Spain, February 27. The devices will run a mixture of both Android 4.0 and Windows Phone 7.5.

Among the new batch of smartphones, said ZTE, will be a quad-core flagship smartphone. ZTE didn't say which platform this device will run, but given Windows Phone's inability to use two cores (at least, yet), it has to be Android. (Of course, it could be the Mimosa X, which was announced earlier this week, but ZTE didn't specify.)

ZTE was light on details about these phones, though it did say that the smartphones to be announced next week will include a slew of table-stakes technology, such as multi-core processors, LTE 4G support, high-definition multimedia capabilities, and strong power efficiency. It didn't say anything specific about screen sizes, camera capabilities, and so forth.

[ Heard enough about Angry Birds and Pandora? Check out 10 Android App Hidden Gems . ]

It may be easy to write off ZTE's devices from the get-go, because they don't yet line the shelves of U.S. network operators in any great number. That's going to change, insists ZTE.

"There is no doubt that this year's Mobile World Congress will again see some exciting device launches," said He Shiyou, executive VP and head of the terminals division at ZTE. "The new devices from ZTE will demonstrate how ZTE is without doubt among an elite group of handset providers as next-generation telecommunications networks roll out globally. ZTE returns at least 10% of its revenues back into R&D to ensure that it sustains its position as a true market innovator--and we're counting down to being able to showcase this to the world's mobile industry next week."

The company has made it no small secret that it intends to be a top three worldwide producer of smartphones by 2015, and a top five producer of smartphones for the U.S. market in the same time frame.

Can it do that? It would have to displace HTC, Research In Motion, Sony, and LG to do so. Worldwide, it would be tackling the likes of Nokia, Apple, and Samsung, which have the leaderboard locked up at the moment.

The company will have to offer feature-rich products with excellent execution to compete with today's smartphone giants. It appears as though Mobile World Congress 2012 is ZTE's first step toward world domination. Or so it hopes.

As federal agencies embrace devices and apps to meet employee demand, the White House seeks one comprehensive mobile strategy. Also in the new Going Mobile issue of InformationWeek Government: Find out how the National Security Agency is developing technologies to make commercial devices suitable for intelligence work. (Free registration required.)

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