Industrial design is becoming increasingly important as the specs of high-end phones start to level out. Sometimes a company can get a little too excited about its design prowess, and that's when things get leaky. That may be the case with ZTE's unannounced Grand S EXT, which has shown up on the Red-Dot 21 design directory.
One year ago we took a look at the original Grand Memo, ZTE's mid-range entry in the bustling "phablet" market. Fast forward and ZTE is back at Mobile World Congress, showing off a new and improved version called the Grand Memo II LTE, that's better in every way... but still not really good enough to elicit a "wow" of surprise. Check out our hands-on video below.
The Grand Memo II bumps up the screen size to 6.0 inches, putting it squarely in between the largest of the conventional smartphones and low-cost tablets.
The phablet market is exploding, and just about every manufacturer wants a piece of the oversized pie. Here at Mobile World Congress ZTE has just announced the Grand Memo II LTE, the successor to last year's Grand Memo. It ups the screen size to a full 6 inches of IPS goodness. Well, maybe goodness - they aren't saying what the resolution is just yet, just "HD," which I'll assume means 720p.
Amidst all the hustle and bustle of CES this year, there will be ZTE with an assortment of new devices just revealed today. The Chinese OEM will be showing off phones, phablets, smart watches, and even a strange little projector.
ZTE will debut a new version of its Grand S II flagship phone, which you can just call "S II" if you want to confuse people. It will have a few new features like unlocking by voice and system-wide voice commands.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Reuters reports that the Rockstar consortium, a joint effort between Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and Blackberry, has sued Google and Android manufacturers Samsung, HTC, LG, ASUStek, Huawei, ZTE, and Pantech over patents formerly held by the now-defunct Nortel Networks. Rockstar won the patents in an auction in 2011 that topped out at $4.5 billion - Google lost the same auction with a $4.4 billion bid.
ZTE likely isn't the first brand that comes to mind when you think of premium Android handsets, and that isn't a surprise. The company's footprint is largest in Asia, and it typically releases budget handsets on this side of the Pacific. But ZTE has been working to change things, and today it's announced that two of its high-end smartphones are ready to compete in the US market - the Grand S and the Nubia 5.
Virgin Mobile has added the ZTE Supreme to its lineup of Android smartphones, a 4G LTE smartphone that will cost $299 with one of the carrier's no-contract plans starting at $35 a month. The device is priced to compete with the likes of the Nexus 4 (before its price drop) and comes equipped with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 1280 x 720 5-inch display, a 13MP rear-facing camera, and a 2,500mAh removable battery.
Sprint announced the Flash back in November last year, when it launched with Android 4.0. Well, it's finally getting an update to Android 4.1... 9 months later. Ugh. The new software version is N9100V1.0.0B15. Improvements aside from things like Google Now and expandable notifications include enhancements to the camera app, which now includes blink detection, flash mode toggle, an EXIF data menu, and a detailed settings menu.
You can start checking for the update on your device now, though the rollout may be staged over the next week or two.
ZTE is an up-and-comer in the smartphone world, one of about a half-dozen Chinese manufacturers that's slowly increasing its presence on the world stage. The company has released some impressive hardware, even if it never seems to get out of Asia. The ZTE Grand X Quad Lite was just announced for the Indian market. But apparently the sub-continental arm of ZTE lost their password to the company FTP.
Look closely at the sole press shot up there, and you'll see the unmistakable watermark of @evleaks, the Twitter tipster who seems to have scooped just about every major Android phone in the last few months.
I just recently made the jump to an HTC One, but my last two phones were real stinkers. It's with this bad taste in my mouth that I am glad to see things improving on the budget end of things. US Cellular is debuting the ZTE Imperial, an Android 4.1 handset that doesn't make me hold my nose while reading its spec sheet. It comes with a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a 5MP rear-facing camera, and a front-facing camera for video chatting.