Microsoft plans to roll out its Windows Phone “Tango” update for its mobile platform in China some time this year. While the new version of Microsoft’s OS will allow Windows Phones to hit lower price points, Chinese manufacturers are pessimistic about the plan and believe the operating system may not achieve enough success, according to DigiTimes. Android-based smartphones are believed to continue to dominate the Chinese market due to the aggressive marketing of low-end devices from local vendors such as ZTE, Huawei, Coolpad and Xiaomi Technology, and the ease of developing applications through the open-source operating system. Despite unfavorable market conditions, Nokia will lead the charge into China with devices set to launch in the first half of 2012. The publication’s sources also believe Huawei will release several Windows Phones din the second quarter, with Microsoft also looking to partner with Lenovo and ZTE to launch devices in the Chinese market. More →
Intel on Monday detailed a number new products and partnerships during the company’s Mobile World Congress press event. “We are very pleased to add new, important customers and capabilities to our phone offerings today. We remain focused on delivering exciting new features and outstanding performance to smartphone customers around the world.” said Intel CEO Paul Otellini. UK service provider Orange will launch an Atom-powered smartphone based on the Z2460 reference design. The device will feature a sleek body that will enable “rich entertainment experiences [to] Orange services, including Orange TV, Daily Motion, Deezer, Orange Wednesdays and Orange Gestures.” The handset is scheduled for a late summer launch and will be available in the United Kingdom and France. Read on for more. More →
ZTE doesn’t have a strong presence here in the U.S., but the vendor revealed several smartphones at this year’s Mobile World Congress trade show that will be big sellers in a number of markets. The Era, Orbit and PF112 are among the new ZTE phones that will launch this year, and we spent some time with each of them on Monday. The Era and the PF112 both run Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, while the Orbit is a Windows Phone. The Era is a quad-core Tegra 3-powered beast with a 4.3-inch screen and high-end specs that rival any device launched here at the show. The PF112 sports an even larger 4.5-inch screen, tri-band HSPA+ and an 8-megapixel shooter. The Orbit is the company’s low-end Windows Phone model, with a 4-inch display, a 1GHz processor and 4GB of on-board storage. In use, the Windows Phone-powered Orbit was definitely impressive for an entry-level smartphone, exhibiting the smooth user experience we’ve come to expect from handsets powered by Microsoft’s mobile platform. The Android phones weren’t operational, so we can’t comment on their performance. We can definitely still admire their sleek designs though, so check out our hands-on gallery for photos of each of these new ZTE phones.
ZTE announced a range of new smartphones at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but the star of the show was undoubtedly the company’s new flagship Android phone, the ZTE Era. The Era is a quad-core Tegra 3-powered Android 4.0 phone with a 4.3-inch 960 x 540-pixel qHD display, 8GB of internal storage, HSPA+ and a case that is just 7.8 millimeters thick, which is even thinner than the HTC One S announced on Sunday. “The numbers speak for themselves. With 50 percent growth in handset shipments and 400 percent growth in smartphone shipments, we are confident that we are entering a new era in the mobile terminal market,” said He Shiyou, Executive Vice President and Head of the Terminals Division, in a statement. The ZTE Era captures the excitement we feel about the future and brings it to life in a fantastic new device.” Announced alongside the Era is the ZTE Orbit, a new entry-level Windows Phone with a 4-inch 800 x 480-pixel display, a single-core 1GHz processor, 4GB of storage and a 5-megapixel camera that will launch in the second quarter. ZTE’s press releases follow below. More →
ZTE is looking to make a big splash at next week’s Mobile World Congress, bringing eight new smartphones powered by Android and Windows Phone to the event. The company had previously announced three Android smartphones, the Mimosa X, PF200 and N910. The Mimosa X comes equipped with a NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, a 4.3-inch qHD display, Ice Cream Sandwich, 4GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, a front facing camera and a 5-megapixel rear camera. The flagship PF200 will sport an unspecified 1.2GHz chipset along with a 4.3-inch qHD display, LTE connectivity, Android 4.0, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Meanwhile, the N910 comes with a 1.5GHz processor, Android 4.0, a 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel secondary camera. Specific details of the five remaining handsets are unknown, however ZTE says they will combine LTE and multicore processors to differentiate them, reports SlashGear. The company is looking to become one of the world’s top three handset manufacturers by 2015. More →
Global smartphone sales increased 47.3% to 149 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to market research firm Gartner. Total smartphone sales for the full year increased 58% to 472 million units and accounted for 31% of all mobile devices sold. The record sales were led by Apple’s iPhone, which sold 37 million units and helped the company capture a 23.8% market share in the fourth quarter. Apple was also the top smartphone vendor in 2011, with a 19% market share. “Western Europe and North America led most of the smartphone growth for Apple during the fourth quarter of 2011,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In Western Europe the spike in iPhone sales in the fourth quarter saved the overall smartphone market after two consecutive quarters of slow sales.” Samsung continued its success with LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Research In Motion recording disappointing results. Both ZTE and Huawei dominated the low-end to mid-range market and became — along with Apple — the fastest-growing vendors in the fourth quarter of 2011. “These vendors expanded their market reach and kept on improving the user experience of their Android devices,” said Cozza. Read on for Gartner’s press release. More →
Sprint on Thursday announced the ZTE Optik Honeycomb tablet. The 7-inch device will be available February 5th for $99.99 with a new two-year agreement, as previously reported. “ZTE Optik is ZTE’s first tablet in North America and makes the tablet experience available to a new segment of consumers,” said Lixin Cheng, CEO and president of ZTE USA. “Paired with Sprint’s cutting-edge network, ZTE Optik provides an exceptional user experience to consumers who demand affordability, flexibility and mobility in one package.” The Optik features a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor with 16GB of internal storage and 1GB of RAM. The device also contains a microSD slot, a 4,000 mAh battery, a front facing 2-megapixel camera and a rear 5-megapixel camera. The tablet will be available for $349.99 off contract and comes pre-loaded with Sprint Zone, Sprint TV, Sprint Music Plus, Sprint Navigation, Sprint Football Live and NASCAR Sprint Cup MobileSM. Read on for Sprint’s press release. More →
Thanks to a strong fourth quarter, Apple has passed LG to become the world’s third largest cell phone vendor by volume, according to new estimates from market research firm IDC. The worldwide mobile phone market grew 6.1% year-over-year in the fourth quarter as the feature phone market continued to decline to its lowest growth rate in two years. Vendors shipped 427.4 million phones in the fourth quarter compared to 402.8 million units in the same quarter last year. Nokia and Samsung remained the top and No.2 vendors, respectively, though Nokia’s phone shipments slid 7.9% while shipments of Samsung handsets grew 17.6% compared to the same quarter in 2010. Read on for more More →
The ZTE Optik Honeycomb-powered Android tablet is coming to Sprint for $99.99 with a two-year agreement, according to documents obtained by SprintFeed. The 7-inch Optik features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 16GB of internal storage and 1GB of RAM. The device also contains a microSD slot and a 4,000 mAh battery, but unfortunately it is a 3G-only tablet and does not feature LTE or WiMAX connectivity. With quad-core beginning to hit the market, Sprint will almost certainly be pushing the Optik’s low and very appealing price tag as its key selling point. The Optik will be available online on February 5th, and in stores by March 11th according to the leak. More →
ZTE on Wednesday launched its budget-friendly Tania Windows Phone in the United Kingdom and at the same time, the company seemingly revealed information regarding the cost of Windows Phone licenses for Microsoft’s vendor partners. To license Windows Phone, a manufacturer pays anywhere from $20 to $30 per device according to ZTE executive Santiago Sierra, who revealed the figures while speaking with TrustedReviews. Manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung were widely believed to pay anywhere from $10 to $15 per license, however ZTE’s comments suggest that either the fee is much higher than previously estimated, or not all manufacturers are charged the same fees. This is the first time one of Microsoft’s Windows Phone partners has discussed licensing fees publicly. More →
Phone maker ZTE recently said that it sees the United States and China as the two largest markets for smartphone sales growth. “The United States and China will be key engines driving our smartphone sales,” ZTE’s head of handset strategy Lv Qianhao, told Reuters in a recent interview, noting that the company expects its worldwide smartphone shipments to double in 2012 and to increase by 30% to 40% annually through 2015. ZTE mostly sells Android-powered smartphones but said it plans to launch a Windows Phone device in China before the third quarter this year; we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the Windows Phone 7.5-powered ZTE Tania that was on display during the Consumer Electronics Show last week. “If we say ZTE started out as a contractor, like those building mass housing that are value for money, then we want to be a developer of luxury high-end estates,” Qianhao said. More →
At the Consumer Electronics Show, Verizon Wireless and Motorola announced the much-anticipated DROID 4, the fourth installment of Verizon’s original flagship device. The DROID 4 comes in at only half an inch thick and includes the expected 5-row keyboard with a 4-inch qHD display. The device features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4G LTE connectivity, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, and an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p video. The DROID 4 will be released with Android 2.3.5 and receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich in the future. Verizon’s popular DROID RAZR will be adding the color purple to the lineup of black and white models, and have its priced dropped to $199. Additionally, Verizon announced the DROID RAZR MAXX designed for customers who are looking to push things to the limit. The device features a larger battery with an estimated 21 hours on a single charge. As the longest-lasting smartphone available, the MAXX is still only 8.99 mm thick. The DROID RAZR MAXX comes equipped with 32 GB of total memory and will be $299.99 with a new two-year customer agreement.
Verizon, ZTE, and Novatel also announced Verizon Jetpacks, two global ready 4G LTE mobile hotspot. Both Jetpacks allow up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices to share Verizon’s blazing fast 4G LTE network and come with an OLED screen and interactive keypad to manage connection settings and to display data alerts. When using the Jetpack, international travelers will have access to the Web in more than 205 countries, including more than 125 with 3G speeds all from their Wi-Fi-connected devices. Verizon’s 4G LTE network reaches more than 200 million people in the United States covering a total of 190 markets. Pricing hasn’t be announced, however all announced devices will be available with in the “coming weeks.” Read on for Verizon’s press release. More →
Handset makers in China have formed an alliance to prepare for possible patent battles with Apple, Microsoft and Nokia. Coolpad, Konka, TCL, ZTE and Lenovo were among the companies named in a report by DigiTimes on Friday. The number of lawsuits filed in China is expected to increase as Microsoft, Nokia and Apple try to increase market share there, the report says. Nokia has already filed patent infringement suits against several Chinese phone makers and Microsoft has gone after Huawei to try to secure a patent licensing deal. Huawei responded to Microsoft’s threats in early November and explained that it has 65,000 patents worldwide. “We have enough to protect our interests,” Huawei Devices chief marketing officer Victor Xu said. “We are a very important stakeholder in Android.” Each of the Chinese companies reportedly has a large patent portfolio and, combined, they could create enough of a force to stave off at least some of the patent-related lawsuits that have plagued other companies. More →