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ZTE Fanfare Lands On Cricket

May 19, 2015, 3:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless recently added the ZTE Fanfare to its lineup of inexpensive handsets. The Fanfare has a 4.5-inch screen with 854 x 480 pixels. It is protected by Dragontail glass. The Fanfare is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor and comes with 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of ROM. The Fanfare's main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and can capture 720p HD video, and the user-facing camera has a VGA sensor. A 2,000mAh battery keeps the Fanfare running. The device has Google's Android 4.4 KitKat on board. Walmart is selling the ZTE Fanfare for Cricket Wireless. It is priced at $69.88.


Microsoft Loses Patent Case to InterDigital

Apr 27, 2015, 2:56 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The International Trade Commission today ruled Microsoft improperly used two InterDigital wireless patents without permission. The ruling judge said "it would not be against the public interest to ban the Microsoft [phones] from import into the United States." Patent-related complaints are often taken to the ITC, which has the power to enact such bans. This initial ruling, made by a single judge within the ITC, must be upheld by the full commission before any sort of penalty is enforced. InterDigital is a patent-holding firm and has filed similar suits against other phone makers, including ZTE and Samsung. Microsoft did not immediately comment on the decision.


InterDigital's ITC Case Against ZTE Fails

Apr 22, 2015, 3:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. ITC today cleared ZTE of violating a phone-related patent held by InterDigital. Late last year, ZTE was found guilty of infringing three different InterDigital patents. InterDigital is a patent-holding firm and has filed similar lawsuits against Nokia and Huawei.


T-Mobile Forced to Halt ZTE Zmax Sales Due to User Errors

Apr 16, 2015, 12:56 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile has suspended sales of the ZTE Zmax handset because customers are forcibly removing the non-removable battery. The back panel of the Zmax is clipped - but not glued - on. Some owners have taken to removing the back cover and cutting into the device to replace the battery. Doing this is dangerous, and T-Mobile strongly suggests Zmax owners take their device to a T-Mobile store if the phone is misbehaving. T-Mobile complained to ZTE, which is examining how to remedy the situation. T-Mobile hasn't said if or when it will resume sales of the Zmax.


Nokia to Buy Alcatel-Lucent, Mulling Options for HERE Maps

Apr 15, 2015, 7:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today said it has agreed to acquire Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion. The combined companies would be a giant in the telecom equipment space with more than 100,000 employees. The terms of the deal will see Nokia acquire all of Alcatel-Lucent's stock, as traded in both France and the U.S. The companies' boards of directors have approved the deal, though shareholders have yet to vote on the acquisition. The deal will also require regulatory approval. The companies expect the deal to close during the first half of 2016. Once combined, the companies will streamline redundant operations, but believe the 40,000 research and development at its disposal employees will be able to make the company a world leader in the connected IP space. Nokia-Alcatel-Lucent will specifically target the development of 5G wireless networks. The largest competitors remaining are Ericsson and Huawei, though ZTE, Samsung, and others make telecommunications equipment, too. In addition to announcing the Alcatel-Lucent deal, Nokia said it has begun a review of strategic options for its HERE Maps business. Nokia acquired Navteq's mapping business in 2007 and turned it into a competitive global company. Nokia's HERE Maps are available to the Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms, as well as online, and provide robust driving, walking, and transit directions. Nokia said its review of HERE Maps may or may not result in a transaction.


Google Makes LTE Patents Available Through Via Licensing

Apr 9, 2015, 11:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Via Licensing today said that Google has added its LTE patents to its broader pool of LTE patents. Via Licensing collects wireless patents from a broad range of companies with the intent of licensing them at fair and reasonable rates. Google is the latest to add its intellectual property to the pool, which already has patents from AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, ZTE, and others. Google gained ownership of some 17,000 patents when it acquired Motorola in 2012. Via Licensing says any patent holder is welcome to contribute patents to its growing collection.


Total Wireless MVNO Launching Through Walmart

Mar 17, 2015, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Total Wireless, an MVNO, recently launched exclusively in Walmart stores. The prepaid service provider offers a handful of low-cost, no-contract plans in addition to a limited lineup of smartphones. The entry-level plan, for example, costs $25 per month and offers unlimited calling and messaging, but no data. Adding $10 buys access to 2.5GB of data. The company also offers shared data plans for two, three, or four lines for $60, $85, and $110, respectively. These plans include 5GB, 9GB, and 12GB of shared data, respectively. The company also offers a data rollover add-on for an extra $10 per month. Total Wireless' handsets include entry-level devices from Alcatel OneTouch, Motorola, Samsung, and ZTE. Total Wireless has not named its carrier partner, but based on the coverage map it is likely Verizon Wireless.


ZTE Debuts Retina-Scanning Phone Security

Mar 1, 2015, 6:00 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 1, 2015, 6:01 PM

ZTE today announced the Grand S 3, their new flagship phone for China. The most innovative feature of the phone is new technology that uses the front camera to actually scan your retina for security a step above fingerprints, according to the company. It gets a good look inside your eye by turing most of the screen white to illuminate the inside of your eye, while having you look at a green line that bounces up and down, to help the camera see a larger vertical section of your retina. It requires an 8-megapixel front camera to work well. In demos, it took around two seconds to unlock the phone this way. The same technology could be used anywhere fingerprints are currently used in mobile, such as adding security to mobile payment apps. ZTE indicated it may bring the feature to phones around the world in the future, including the U.S.

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Nokia and ZTE Cleared In InterDigital Patent Case

Feb 18, 2015, 1:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

A court today said Nokia and ZTE did not violate patents held by InterDigital, a patent licensing firm. InterDigital had filed a case against the two phone makers with the International Trade Commission. The ITC said Nokia and ZTE were in the clear, and InterDigital appealed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the ITC's decision. Nokia and ZTE were cleared on the charges of violating four patents, while a fifth InterDigital patent was tossed. Microsoft said it was pleased with the ruling and InterDigital said it was disappointed. InterDigital beat ZTE in a similar case last year, and is still awaiting a separate trial against Microsoft in Delaware.


T-Mobile to Add 700MHz Support to Select Phones

Jan 26, 2015, 3:46 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile plans to make some of its handsets compatible with its 700MHz spectrum through a software update. Today, only the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge can use LTE on T-Mobile's 700MHz spectrum. T-Mobile said it will provide the system update to the Motorola Nexus 6 in the early part of 2015, followed by the Sony Xperia Z3 and Samsung Galaxy Avant in May, and the ZTE Max later this year. Two tablets and T-Mobile's Z915 LTE 4G Hotspot also support the 700MHz airwaves. T-Mobile is supplementing its AWS-based LTE network with its 700MHz holdings in select markets around the country. The company is still in the process of deploying LTE to all its 700MHz spectrum.


ZTE Debuts 2nd-Generation Hotspot Projector

Jan 5, 2015, 7:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE unveiled a new version of its hotspot projector today with several improvements on board. This device can project a 720p HD image or video up to 120 inches large (across the diagonal) onto a wall or screen. At 200 lumens, it's twice as bright as the first-generation device, and it can connect to smartphones, tablets, and laptops via Bluetooth, HDMI, or USB. The device has its own Android operating system with a 5-inch touch screen and a refined user interface that makes it easier to use. ZTE said it can be used to stream just about any content directly from the web, including Google Play Store purchases, such as movies and television shows. The device is powered by a 2.1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, has 2GB of ROM, 16GB of internal storage, and supports microSDXC cards up to 2TB. The battery is good for three hours of projection time, or up to 10 hours as a mobile hotspot. ZTE said the device will be sold by the nation's two largest carriers at some point during the second quarter of the year. Pricing wasn't disclosed.

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Hands-On: ZTE Grand X Max+ and SPRO 2

Jan 5, 2015, 7:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Here is a quick take on ZTE's new hero phone for Cricket Wireless as well as a peek at the new mobile hotspot projector.

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Cricket Scores 6-Inch Grand X Max+ from ZTE

Jan 5, 2015, 7:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE and Cricket Wireless today announced the Grand X Max+, an Android smartphone that boasts a 6.0-inch display and premium design. ZTE has improved the materials and build quality and packed it into a phone measuring 7.87mm thick. The Grand X Max+ offers high-end features that are available at an affordable price point. The large display offers 720p HD resolution and the phone is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. It supports memory cards up to 32GB. The Grand X Max+ includes a 3,200mAh battery with Qualcomm's QuickCharge 1.0 technology, and it supports LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The main camera rates 13 megapixels and the user-facing camera rates 5 megapixels and features a wide viewing angle. The phone runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat. The ZTE Grand X Max+ reaches Cricket stores Jan. 9. It will cost $199.99 without a contract.

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Boost Mobile Trots Out the ZTE Speed for $99

Dec 23, 2014, 9:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Boost Mobile today announced the ZTE Speed, an affordable Android smartphone with a 4.5-inch screen and a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor. The Speed runs Android 4.4 KitKat and comes with a 5-megapixel main camera with LED flash, 2-megapixel user-facing camera, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. The phone supports memory cards up to 32GB. Other features include Bluetooth 4.0, LTE with HD Voice, mobile hotspot, and a 2,000mAh battery. The ZTE Speed is available from BoostMobile.com starting today for $99.99. It will reach Boost Mobile retail stores in early January. Boost does not require contracts and service plans start at $35.


T-Mobile's Prepaid Service Adds the ZTE Zinger

Dec 22, 2014, 2:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today added the ZTE Zinger to its lineup of prepaid phones. The Zinger, which is the same as the Z667 sold by AT&T, is an affordable Android smartphone with a 3.5-inch screen, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and 2.0-megapixel camera. The phone supports Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi, but not LTE 4G. It comes with Android 4.4 KitKat and costs about $50 before adding service.


ZTE to Focus On Fewer Phones for 2015

Dec 22, 2014, 10:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE has decided to reduce the number of devices it will bring to market during 2015. Rather than flood the market with a range of handsets, ZTE will focus on just a few devices that offer its core experience. Zeng Xuezhong, CEO of ZTE's phone business, told the China Daily Report, "We had a large volume in the market, but it did not help increase our brand value. We have introduced a strategy to increase the value - instead of the volume - of our products by focusing on developing core technology in major devices. There will be more products equipped with high technology that will be launched next year, which will help boost our presence in the high-end mobile industry." ZTE has long sold entry-level and mid-range devices in the U.S., most often through prepaid providers. Recently, it offered higher-quality handsets in the ZMax and XMax. ZTE didn't say when it intends to next launch new smartphones for the U.S. market.


ZTE Partners with New York Knicks

Oct 27, 2014, 12:57 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE today announced a new marketing partnership with the New York Knicks basketball team. Moving forward, ZTE will be the official smartphone provider for the Knicks. The company said it hopes to increase the visibility of its brand, as well as connect with Knicks basketball fans and help those fans better connect with the Knicks. The company will have signage within Madison Square Garden and in-game promos, such as seat upgrades. The partnership doesn't pertain to a specific device and will be used to market a range of handsets over the course of the year.

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ZTE X Max to Arrive in Cricket Stores Oct. 10

Oct 7, 2014, 9:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced the ZTE X Max, the second big-screened phone to join the prepaid carrier's ranks. The X Max features a 6-inch 720p HD screen and 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor. The main camera rates 8 megapixels with an LED flash and HD video capture, and the user-facing camera rates 1 megapixel. The X Max includes 8GB of internal storage and supports memory cards up to 32GB. It runs Android 4.4. KitKat. The phone comes with the Peel Smart Remote app, which allows owners to discover TV content directly on their handset. The ZTE X Max goes on sale online and in stores October 10 and will cost $200. For a limited time, Cricket is offering a $100 bill credit to customers who switch from MetroPCS or T-Mobile.


Hands On with the ZMax for T-Mobile

Sep 16, 2014, 7:27 PM   by Rich Brome

At an event in NYC tonight, ZTE announced the ZMax, an affordable, large-screen phone for T-Mobile USA. The phone comes at a time when ZTE is trying to escape its low-tier reputation in the U.S. The company will be putting its own brand on all phones instead of white-labeling many. Is this phone the one to help ZTE make a name for itself? Read on for our impressions.

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ZTE ZMax Phablet Coming To T-Mobile

Sep 16, 2014, 6:18 PM   by Rich Brome

ZTE today announced the ZMax, a large-screen phone exclusive to T-Mobile in the U.S. The ZMax has a 5.7-inch HD screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 8-megapixel camera with flash, 1.6-megapixel front camera, large 3400 mAh battery, and runs Android 4.4. It also sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor, 16 GB of internal memory, and a memory card slot. Unlike many previous ZTE phones, the ZMax is fully ZTE-branded. It will go on sale September 24 for $252 (full retail), or $10.50/month on a payment plan.

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ZTE Commits To Branding All U.S. Devices

Sep 16, 2014, 6:09 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 16, 2014, 11:11 PM

ZTE today announced that, going forward, all of its phones for the U.S. market will carry the ZTE brand. Many of its previous phones were carrier-branded, such as the Boost Warp 4G and T-Mobile Concord II.

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Boost Mobile to Sell Low-Cost ZTE Warp Sync

Aug 26, 2014, 10:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 26, 2014, 10:39 AM

Boost Mobile today announced the ZTE Warp Sync, an inexpensive Android handset for Sprint's pre-paid network. The Warp Sync features a 5-inch display with Gorilla Glass 2 and a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor from Qualcomm with 2GB of RAM. The Warp Sync includes an 8-megapixel main camera and a 1.6-megapixel user-facing camera. According to Boost Mobile, the Warp Sync is the first handset from ZTE capable of accessing Sprint Spark and offering HD Voice. Other specs include a 2,300mAh battery, mobile hotspot, Mobile ID packs, and Android 4.4 KitKat. The ZTE Warp Sync is available online beginning today for $180. It will reach Boost Mobile stores September 1. Boost Mobile does not require contracts.


ZTE Offering Nubia 5S Mini LTE via Amazon for $280

Aug 20, 2014, 7:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE today announced it is bringing the Nubia 5S mini with LTE to the U.S. The 5S mini is a compact handset that's part of ZTE's premium line of Android smartphones. It has a 4.7-inch 720p HD IGZO display from Sharp, and it is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor with an Adreno 305 GPU. The phone is equipped with a 13-megapixel main camera and a bevy of advanced controls for focus, light metering, and white balance. The five-element f/2.2 lens is protected by sapphire, and the camera has three shooting modes: Fun, Auto, and Pro. The 5S mini has a 5-megapixel user-facing camera, too, and can capture 720p HD video. Other hardware features include 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a memory card slot; Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and support for AT&T/T-Mobile LTE; and a 2,000mAh battery. ZTE is offering the Nubia 5S mini with LTE directly to consumers via Amazon, where the device costs $280 and ships unlocked. The phone is available for order today, and ships starting August 27.

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ZTE Cleared in Patent Case Versus Interdigital

Aug 19, 2014, 6:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. ITC recently upheld an earlier ruling that found ZTE innocent of violating patents held by Interdigital. Interdigital alleged that ZTE infringed on select patents related to mobile technology. The ITC made its initial determination clearing ZTE of wrongdoing in June. This week's decision puts the matter to rest. The ITC cleared ZTE in a separate case against Interdigital in December. ZTE said it was pleased with the ITC's decision and is committed to protecting its intellectual property. Patent-holding firms such as Interdigital often use litigation to generate revenue.


Vringo Loses Patent Appeal

Aug 15, 2014, 12:39 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

A U.S. court today handed Vringo a defeat in its patent claims against Google and other companies. Earlier, Vringo won a guilty verdict against Google over how search results are filtered. Google appealed and today's decision effectively overturns the earlier verdict. The court declared both Vringo's patents invalid and tossed the case. Vringo said it is evaluating its options. There's no word from Google yet about its exoneration. Vringo purchased the rights to a wide swath of mobile technology patents from Nokia in 2012 and has sued several companies, including Google and ZTE, in order to protect its intellectual property.


Virgin Mobile's Custom Plans Now Available at Walmart

Aug 11, 2014, 10:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Virgin Mobile USA's Custom plans launched at Walmart stores today. The plans, which were announced last month, allow customers to add only the service they want and alter their service day-by-day if they need to in order to manage their expenses. Virgin Mobile Custom allows families to activate up to five lines on a single account starting at $6.98 per line. The Base plan includes 20 texts and 20 voice minutes per month. Customers can choose to add unlimited texting for $10 or unlimited voice for $18. The Unlimited talk and text plan costs $35 per month. Customers can also choose select add-ons, such as unlimited access to Facebook or music streaming, which can be added monthly at as needed. Virgin Mobile Custom plans are available to three devices, including the ZTE Emblem, the LG Pulse, and the LG Unify, at select Walmart stores.


Cricket to Sell ZTE Grand X

Aug 1, 2014, 7:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced the pending availability of the ZTE Grand X, a large-screened Android smartphone. The Grand X features a 5-inch display with Gorilla Glass and a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. The Grand X boasts two cameras. The main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and the user-facing camera has a 1-megapixel sensor. The phone has a 2,300mAh battery that supports QuickCharge 1.0 for faster charging. The Grand X, which runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, will be available beginning August 8. It will cost $100 after a $50 mail-in rebate.


Virgin Mobile Debuts Custom Plans

Jul 30, 2014, 7:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 30, 2014, 8:11 AM

Virgin Mobile USA today announced a new plan that gives customers more flexibility in managing their account. Virgin Mobile Custom is based on the ItsOn platform, which was used by Zact Mobile, a Sprint-based MVNO. ItsOn is what gives customers the power to change the features of their plans any time they want or need to. Virgin Mobile Custom allows families to activate up to five lines on a single account starting at $6.98 per line. The Base plan includes 20 texts and 20 voice minutes per month. Customers can choose to add unlimited texting for $10 or unlimited voice for $18. The Unlimited talk and text plan costs $35 per month. Customers can also choose select add-ons, such as unlimited access to Facebook or music streaming, which can be added on a recurring or non-recurring basis. These plans can be adjusted at any time during the month, even daily, directly from the customer's device. Customers can add or subtract the amount of voice, text or data they use with real-time price adjustments so customers know exactly what they'll be spending. Virgin Mobile Custom will be available on three devices at launch, including the ZTE Emblem, the LG Pulse, and the LG Unify

  • ZTE Emblem: The ZTE Emblem is similar to the Savvy, which is being sold by TracFone. It has a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz processor, and it runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. It costs $80
  • LG Pulse: The LG Pulse is a U.S. variant of the L70, which was announced earlier this year. It has a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz processor, LG's QSlide and QuickMemo apps, and it runs Android 4.4 KitKat. It costs $100.
  • LG Unify: The LG Unify is a variant of the Optimus F3, which is already being sold by Virgin Mobile. It has a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and LG's VuTalk and Q-Translator apps. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and costs $130.
The account holder can download the free Custom Control App from the Apple App store or Google Play Store to manage the devices and features of their various lines. Virgin Mobile Custom plans will be available beginning September 1.


Cricket Offering Lumia 630 for Free and Other Deals

Jul 10, 2014, 10:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T, today announced the availability of the Nokia Lumia 630 smartphone. The 630, which is a variant of the Lumia 635 (being sold by T-Mobile and MetroPCS), will reach Cricket stores on July 11. Cricket is offering the Lumia 630 for free with a $50 mail-in rebate card. The device is an entry-level Windows Phone with a 4.5-inch screen and 5-megapixel camera. Cricket is also offering discounts ranging from $20 to $50 on a wide selection of handsets, including the ZTE Sonata 4G, Prelude, and Overture 4G; the Moto G; the Nokia 520 and 1320; and the Samsung Galaxy Express 4G. Cricket is the new brand name being used by AT&T's former Aio Wireless unit. AT&T is transitioning Cricket's CDMA customers to its GSM network so it can eventually repurpose Cricket's spectrum. All the devices covered by Cricket's new promotion operate on AT&T's GSM network.


Sprint to Sell ZTE's Hotspot Projector

Jul 9, 2014, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 9, 2014, 9:06 AM

Sprint today announced it is bringing ZTE's smart projector to its network as the Sprint LivePro. ZTE announced the LivePro at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, which combines a digital projector and LTE mobile hotspot into one device. The LivePro runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and has its own 4-inch display. It is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM and runs the complete suite of Google services, such as Gmail, Maps, Drive, and YouTube. The projector can access Sprint's 3G/4G networks, including Sprint Spark, and can serve as a Wi-Fi mobile hotspot for up to eight other devices. The projector has USB and HDMI ports, and supports Miracast for mirroring the screens of nearby smartphones or tablets. The LivePro can display content up to 1080p HD at distances between 10 inches and 10 feet, for a maximum screen size of 120 inches. The bulb is rated at 100 lumens and provides 20,000 hours of of life. The LivePro has a 5,000mAh battery that can be used to charge other devices if need be. The Sprint LivePro will be available via most Sprint sales channels beginning July 11 for about $450, or $18.75 per month for 24 months with Sprint Easy Pay. Data plans start at $$35 per month for 3GB of combined 3G/4G data while on the Sprint network.


US Cellular Lands the ZTE Grand S Pro

Jun 12, 2014, 7:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular and ZTE today announced the Grand S Pro, a high-end Android smartphone that costs $99 with a two-year contract. The Grand S Pro features a 5-inch 720p display protected by Dragontrail Glass, and it is powered by a quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM. The Grand S Pro includes a 13-megapixel main camera with LED flash, autofocus, 1080p HD video capture and Pro Mode, as well as a 2-megapixel user-facing camera for video chats and selfies. The phone had 8GB of built-in storage and supports microSD cards up to 32GB for added capacity. The Grand S Pro can access and use U.S. Cellular's LTE 4G network, and it includes dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, MHL, and GPS. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and includes a 2,300mAh battery. The ZTE Grand S Pro is available starting today for $99 with a contract or $249 at full retail price.

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ZTE Hopes High-End Phones Will Increase Sales

Jun 9, 2014, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE today said it plans to push into the high-end smartphone market controlled by the likes of Apple, HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony. According to Reuters, sales of ZTE's mid-range and entry-level handsets are strong, but margins are too thin. The company wants to use high-end handsets to help increase its margins. "We will make more and more premium smartphones," said ZTE's Zeng Xuezong to Reuters. The company wants to trade its image as a low-cost phone maker for one that rivals the current market leaders. "There is indeed a gap between the brand awareness of Chinese companies and those top global brands, and this is what our team is trying to build for consumers" with handsets such as the Nubia Z5, said Zeng. ZTE believes it can increase is worldwide sales from 40 million units in 2013 to as much as 100 million units by 2016. In the U.S., it is seeking to raise its marketshare from 6% to 10% by 2017 with the help of premium devices and by spending more money on marketing. Most of the ZTE handsets available in the U.S. are entry-level devices sold by prepaid or low-cost carriers.


T-Mobile and MetroPCS to Sell ZTE Concord II

May 14, 2014, 7:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 14, 2014, 11:40 AM

ZTE today announced the Concord II, an Android smartphone that will be sold by both T-Mobile and MetroPCS. The Concord II is a low-cost device that follows the 2012-era original. The Concord II runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and offers a 4-inch screen with 800 x 480 pixels, which is protected by Gorilla Glass II. The device is run by a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor paired with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. The Concord II supports microSD cards up to 32GB for additional storage. The phone has a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash that can capture 720p HD video. The Concord II has a removable 1,820mAh battery, and supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. It does not support LTE 4G. ZTE said the Concord II is available beginning today for $150 at T-Mobile stores. It will reach MetroPCS stores on May 19 and will cost $49.99 after a $50 rebate. Both T-Mobile and MetroPCS have smartphone plans that start at $40 per month.


ZTE Makes Open C Firefox OS Phone Available Via eBay

May 8, 2014, 12:49 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE today made the Open C handset available to U.S. buyers through its eBay store. ZTE is charging $99.99 for the device, which was announced in February and runs the latest version of Firefox OS. The Open C has a 4-inch display and dual-core 1.2GHz processor from Qualcomm. The phone is being sold without a contract and is compatible with GSM networks, such as those operated by AT&T and T-Mobile.


Phone Makers, Carriers to Add Anti-Theft Tools to Phones

Apr 15, 2014, 3:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 15, 2014, 3:49 PM

The CTIA Wireless Association today said a number of handset makers and wireless network operators have agreed to a basic framework that will eventually provide consumers with better anti-theft tools for their smartphones. The Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is meant to deter theft while also giving phone makers and carriers room to innovate. All the companies agreed to implement a baseline anti-theft tool preloaded on (or downloadable to) all wireless smartphones manufactured after July 2015. This tool will let consumers: remotely wipe their data; render the smartphone inoperable to unauthorized users; prevent reactivation without owner's consent; and reverse the inoperability of the device as well as restore the data to the device in the event it is found by the owner. Consumers will also be free to use whatever third-party anti-theft tools they wish in addition to those provided by the phone maker. All signatories will make the baseline anti-theft tool available with all its core features. The initial batch of companies signing the commitment include: Apple; Asurion; AT&T; Google; HTC America; Huawei; Motorola; Microsoft; Nokia; Samsung; Sprint; T-Mobile; U.S. Cellular; and Verizon Wireless. Some of those who haven't signed include Kyocera, LG, Sony, ZTE. A number of lawmakers lauded the commitment, which arrives several months after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler mandated that wireless companies come up with such a solution or face regulatory intervention.


HTC, Huawei, ZTE Cleared In ITC Patent Case

Mar 15, 2014, 8:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that HTC, Huawei, and ZTE did not infringe on camera-related patents owned by FlashPoint. The ruling was a review of an initial decision made by an administrative law judge last year. The full panel changed the initial ruling (which had found HTC guilty), exonerated all three companies, and dismissed the case. Companies often use the ITC to try patent cases as the agency has the power to ban sales of products found guilty of violating intellectual property.


Hands-On: ZTE Grand Memo II LTE

Feb 24, 2014, 6:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE showed off a sequel to its flagship phablet. The Grand Memo II LTE is a gigantic device. Here are our first impressions of ZTE's latest monolithic piece of hardware.

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ZTE Unwraps the Grand Memo II LTE

Feb 24, 2014, 4:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE today announced the Grand Memo II LTE smartphone, a thinner, bigger version of its flagship phablet. The Grand Memo II LTE features a 6-inch HD screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. ZTE says the screen consumes 80% of the device's front surface, which is among the highest screen-to-bezel ratios. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 400 processor that is paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage. The phone features a 13-megapixel main camera with an f/2.2 aperture and back-side illumination. The front camera rates 5-megapixels. Other hardware features include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, various sensors, and a 3,200mAh battery. ZTE claims the Grand Memo II offers 16 hours of HD video playback or several days of normal use. It measures 7.2mm thick. The Grand Memo II runs Android 4.4 KitKat skinned with ZTE's MiFavor 2.3 user interface. ZTE says MiFavor can memorize user habits to present useful information when needed, and it offers split-screen multitasking for power users. ZTE expects the Grand Memo II will go on sale in select markets later this year


Mozilla Sets Up Firefox OS for Growth

Feb 23, 2014, 11:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Mozilla today made a handful of announcements about the progress of Firefox OS, which is garnering more support from phone makers and carriers around the world. To start, the Firefox OS family has grown with the ZTE Open C and Open II, and Alcatel OneTouch Fire C (pictured), Fire E, Fire S handsets all making their debut in Barcelona. The devices are all running the latest version of Firefox, which has been sped up and performs better across the board thanks to new support from Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. Notably, these devices offer a mid-range experience, unlike the first device, which was marketed as an entry-level handset. In addition to the hardware partners, Mozilla has won agreements from Telkomsel and Indosat, which join the list of 21 operators supporting Firefox OS around the world. Mozilla also said it worked with Spreadtrum to create a WCDMA and EDGE turnkey reference design for Firefox OS, and a $25 chipset for low-cost Firefox OS smartphones. Last, Firefox outlined changes headed to the operating system. It will add a new universal search function available from any screen on the phone. New navigation features in the user interface will make multitasking easier, such as swiping between full-screen apps. The OS will also make it easier to share content thanks to support for NFC, as well as LTE for markets with 4G deployments. Mozilla also talked up new support it has from developers, who've begun to write more apps for the operating system.


ZTE Says Grand Memo II LTE to Arrive in Barcelona

Feb 18, 2014, 8:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE today revealed its plans for Mobile World Congress, which takes place in Barcelona beginning February 24. The company plans to show off the Grand Memo II LTE, an Android smartphone with a 6-inch display, and the Open C, a device running Firefox OS. The company also said it plans to show off a brand new user interface for its mobile devices called MiFavor 2.3, as well as a smartwatch called the ZTE Grand Watch. More details will become available during MWC.


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