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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
Aio Wireless today made three additional smartphones available to its prepaid customers. The devices, all of which have been available from other carriers for some time, include the Motorola Moto G for $149.99, the Nokia Lumia 520 for $99.99, and the ZTE Sonata 4G for $79.99. The Sonata reaches Aio Wireless stores today, but the Moto G and Lumia 520 won't be available until February 14.
Boost Mobile today announced the ZTE Max, a large-screened Android smartphone that costs $299.99. The Max features a 5.7-inch HD display and it is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. The Max includes an 8-megapixel main camera and a 1-megapixel user-facing camera. The phone supports 3G/4G LTE, and has Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi, and GPS on board. The Max runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and comes with ZTE's SmartView technology, which allows owners to use any two applications at the same time. The ZTE Max also comes with Boost Mobile apps, such as Boost Zone and Mobile ID. The ZTE Max is available online and in stores beginning today. Boost Mobile does not require contracts.
ZTE is back at CES this year with two big-screened phones, the Grand S II and Iconic Phablet. As their names imply, neither device is small in size, nor features.
The Aio brand's days may be numbered - since AT&T plans to replace the brand with Cricket - but for now, they're still around and pumping out new phones. Their latest is the Sonata from ZTE, a basic Android phone.
ZTE's "nubia" is a line of phones with premium design and features. It's a global brand, but also part of ZTE's push into higher-end phones in the U.S. Last year's nubia 5 was sold unlocked here, but was an expensive proposition for a phone lacking 4G LTE. ZTE has wisely fixed that glaring flaw with the nubia 5 S, and added some wild camera features, to boot, including 4K video capture. Read on for our hands-on impressions.
ZTE today formally announced the Grand S II, its flagship smartphone for 2014. The Grand S II makes heavy use of voice recognition technology in order to make the device easier to control without the use of your hands. According to ZTE, the Grand S II can recognize the owner's voice to unlock the phone, similar to the Motorola Moto X. Owners can use their voice to trigger the camera, which ZTE imagines will be helpful with group shots and selfies. ZTE took pains to improve the performance of its My-Drive application and voice commands for driving, which can be used to ask for directions or read incoming messages. The Grand S II makes use of three microphones to better reduce noise and boost call clarity, as well as capture high-fidelity audio via the voice recorder app. It uses Dolby sound paired with a Box speaker for improved music and video playback. The device runs Android and includes a 5.5-inch 1080p HD display, quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 13-megapixel camera, 2-megapixel user-facing camera, 3,000mAh battery and 16GB of built-in storage. ZTE didn't say when the Grand S II will go on sale, nor how much it will cost.
ZTE today said that it plans to show off a number of new devices at the Consumer Electronics Trade show in Las Vegas next week. Several of the gadgets had not been announced before today.
- Grand S II: This follow-up to last year's flagship Android smartphone is what ZTE calls a "high-precision voice phone" able to act on commands, such as unlocking and picture-taking. It also features three mics to help improve the clarity of voice calls.
- Nubia 5S / 5S Mini: The larger Nubia 5S has a 5-inch 1080p HD screen, 13-megapixel Sony RS camera sensor with f/2.0 aperture, and 4K Ultra HD video capture. The 5S Mini has a 4.7-inch IGZO display from Sharp and comes in different colors. Both devices are powered by quad-core Qualcomm processors.
- Sonata 4G: This Android smartphone is headed to AT&T's Aio Wireless prepaid service. It includes a 4-inch screen, 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core processor, and 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture.
- Phablet: ZTE teased the release of its first phablet device at CES, which it says will have a 5.7-inch HD screen with Gorilla Glass, quad-core processor, Dolby Digital, and wireless charging. The unnamed device will be able to run two apps on the screen at the same time, similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note.
- Projector Hotspot: ZTE has created a Wi-Fi mobile hotspot that also includes a projector. ZTE says the Projector Hotspot will be ideal for sharing video content anywhere, while also supporting LTE access for up to eight devices.
- BlueWatch: ZTE's first smartwatch is called the BlueWatch. The device includes a pedometer and can record and analyze user movement data at all times. The BlueWatch connects to smartphones via Bluetooth and enables access to calls, social media updates, and photos.
- AT&T Wireless Home Base: ZTE is prepared to offer its own AT&T Wireless Home Base device. The home base will let people use AT&T's wireless network, rather than copper or fiber, for their home-based voice services.
ZTE announced internal organizational changes the company believes will help it compete more effectively. Moving forward, the company will focus on three pillar businesses: operators, mobile devices, and business customers. It will also target several emerging market segments, such as public IT systems and mobile broadband services. In particular, the mobile device unit will operate as a separate business headed by Zeng Xuezhong, who replaces outgoing handset manager He Shiyou. ZTE believes its LTE 4G telecommunications gear, semiconductors, and handsets will be more competitive on a global scale with its new structure. The changes are effective immediately.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has determined that Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE did not infringe on six InterDigital patents, and it invalidated a seventh patent, clearing the companies of any wrongdoing. The ITC upheld the preliminary ruling made earlier this year. ZTE said it was pleased with the ITC's decision, while Nokia and Huawei have yet to file public responses. InterDigital's attempt to ban the import of certain ZTE, Huawei, and Nokia devices has been nixed. InterDigital, which is a patent-holding firm, filed similar complaints against Samsung.
Zact Mobile today announced that it is offering parents a customized version of the ZTE Awe that includes content from Disney and extensive parental controls. This kids' version of the Awe will feature Disney apps, as well as access to Disney music and video programming. It offers Spanish-language Disney content, too. The parental controls allow parents to remotely control when the phone can used, which apps can be used, who the child can contact, as well as cease service, and more. Parents will need to download a separate Zact Control app for their own iPhone or Android smartphone in order to give them control over the Awe. The ZTE Awe is an entry-level Android smartphone priced at $99. Zact's monthly service plans start as low as $3.49.
Zact Mobile today announced the addition of the ZTE Awe to its roster of smartphones. The Awe, which is also sold by Virgin Mobile USA, is an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean device that features a 4-inch WVGA display, 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. Zact Mobile is selling the phone for $89, and its customizable prepaid service plans start as low as $3.49 per month.
Phone Scoop was able to spend a few moments with the recently announced ZTE Warp 4G for Boost Mobile and the ZTE Source for Cricket Wireless. Here are our initial impressions.
Cricket Wireless today introduced the ZTE Source, a new Android smartphone that features a 4.5-inch display and 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. The Source includes a 5-megapixel main camera that can capture 720p HD video and a 1-megapixel user-facing camera for video chats. Both sensors use back-side illumination for better low-light performance. The Source also includes 4GB of built-in storage and supports microSD cards up to 32GB. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and ships with Cricket's Muve Music service. The Source is compatible with Cricket's LTE network. It will be available online and in stores beginning October 20 for $219.99. Service plans start as low as $45 per month. Cricket Wireless is in the process of being acquired by AT&T.
Mozilla today released Firefox OS version 1.1. The newest rendition of its smartphone platform adds a wide range of new features and capabilities. The update enables push notifications in the platform, as well as adds support for MMS, and adaptive app search. The platform received contact management improvements that let users sync their Google and Hotmail contacts in addition to Facebook and SIM card contacts. It is also easier to edit contacts that are already saved on the phone. The phone app now offers suggested contacts when users begin to type phone numbers, and the Firefox browser lets users save images, audio, and video directly to the handset. The email application has been improved with the ability to save drafts offline, download audio and video attachments, as well as send photo attachments. Other functions that have been improved include the music player, calendar, and keyboard. Mozilla said the update will be made available to developers with Firefox OS phones in the near future. Several handset makers, including LG and ZTE, have committed to releasing Firefox-based smartphones.
ZTE today announced the Nubia 5, a new Android smartphone that it will sell directly to U.S. consumers. The Nubia 5 targets people who put photography first. It includes a Konica-Minolta 13-megapixel main camera with sapphire lens and three shooting modes: Fun, Auto, and Pro. According to ZTE, Fun Mode is for snapshots with filters; Auto Mode includes smile detection and HDR; and Pro Mode adds burst shooting, panorama, and control over focus, lighting, and more. The Nubia 5 also has a 2-megapixel user-facing camera. Other features include a 5-inch full HD screen, 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a 2,300mAh battery. It runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. The Nubia 5 is compatible with GSM/UMTS networks and will be available for preorder from Amazon and other sales channels beginning October 5. It costs $449.99. ZTE also announced that it will sell the Grand S smartphone online for $399.99. The Grand S was announced at CES 2013. It features a 5-inch full HD display; 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB of RAM; 13-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel user-facing camera; and 16GB of built-in storage. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Boost Mobile today announced the ZTE Warp 4G, an updated version of last year's phone that includes support for Sprint's LTE 4G network. The Warp 4G runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and includes a 4.5-inch HD display with durable glass; an 8-megapixel main camera and 1-megapixel user-facing camera; dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage; and Wi-Fi, GPS, and Stereo Bluetooth 4.0. The Warp has a 2070mAh battery and is preloaded with a number of Boost Mobile apps and services, such as Boost Zone and Mobile ID. The ZTE Warp 4G is available from Boost Mobile's web site for $199.99. Boost Mobile does not require contracts and operates on Sprint's 3G/4G networks.
Virgin Mobile today announced the availability of the ZTE N800 Awe. The Awe is a simple Android 4.1 Jelly Bean smartphone that features a 4-inch WVGA display, 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. The ZTE is powered by a 1,650mAh battery and supports microSD cards up to 32GB. The Awe is limited to 3G mobile broadband speeds and does not support LTE. The ZTE Awe is available online and in select stores for $99.99. Virgin Mobile does not require contracts. Service plans start as low as $35 per month.
Virgin Mobile today announced the Reef, the company's first water-resistant smartphone. The Reef, which is made by ZTE, is certified IPX7, which means it is protected for up to 30 minutes in up to 3 feet of water. The phone has a 4.0 touch display, 1 GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, and a 1-megapixel user-facing camera. The device runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and includes Virgin Mobile's ID packs. It runs on Virgin's 3G network and includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Reef costs $149.99 and does not require a contract.
ZTE today announced that it will offers its Open Firefox OS phone to U.S. consumers via its official eBay store. The phone, which is based on open web standards, will be sold unlocked for $79.99. The ZTE open offers most of the same features found on today's smartphones, including integration with social networks, GPS and navigation through Nokia' HERE maps, and an app store from which to download applications. According to ZTE, the Firefox Marketplace already has a handful of apps from eBay, Kayak, The Weather Channel, SoundCloud, AOL, Wikipedia, and others.
Aio Wireless today announced that the ZTE Overture 4G is now available for sale online and in stores. The Overture, which was announced last month, has a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, front-facing camera, LTE, and support for memory cards up to 32GB. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and costs $149.99. Aio Wireless is a subsidiary of AT&T and offers no-contract wireless service in the U.S.
The U.S International Trade Commission today found that Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE did not violate a patent owned by InterDigital. This was the preliminary decision reached by an administrative law judge. The full ITC will make a final decision on the matter in October. InterDigital is a patent-licensing firm and had sued the companies over intellectual property pertaining to power conservation and messaging in mobile devices. LG was also named in the original suit, but settled with InterDigital. InterDigital was hoping the ITC would block the offending devices from entering the U.S.
U.S. Cellular today announced that the ZTE Imperial will be available online and in stores beginning June 27. The Imperial supports U.S. Cellular's LTE 4G network. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and includes a 4-inch screen with 800 x 480 pixels, 1.2GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor, and a 5-megapixel main camera. The Imperial also offers a front-facing camera for video chats. Other features include Wi-Fi, GPE, and Bluetooth 4.0; 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The ZTE Imperial will cost $0.01 with rebate when paired with a new plan.