In the past few years, the FCC has made overtures against Huawei and ZTE, characterizing them as national security threats. Well, now it's official: the commission has passed an order officially declaring the two Chinese tech giants as national security threats to the United States.
This story was originally published and last updated .
If you've never heard of a Red Magic smartphone, we're not surprised: the gaming-focused sub-brand of Nubia (itself a sub-brand of ZTE) doesn't have a lot of name recognition in America, or really anywhere. But this isn't the first time we've reviewed a Red Magic phone, and I've got something of a soft spot in my heart for last year's Red Magic 3S. As an everyday smartphone, it really wasn't fantastic, but its largely stock Android software and strong gaming performance at a seriously low price made it an attractive option as a dedicated gaming phone, for people who want such a thing (and I'm not sure how many such people there are).
The coronavirus outbreak is shaking up the tech world, leading to factory and store shutdowns all over China. This could mean we'll see some production shortages, but fears of the virus spread also have more tangible effects. Many companies have decided to withdraw from or limit their availability at MWC 2020, slated to begin February 24. To hinder contamination, the fair organizer GSMA has put a vast number of actions in motion to keep attendees as safe as possible.
Samsung is going to make the Galaxy S20 official in just a few days with the Snapdragon 865, but ZTE has beaten it to the punch by unveiling the Axon 10s with an 865 inside. The Axon 10s has a big screen, a little notch, and it's the first device with faster LPDDR5 RAM. One thing it doesn't have is a release date.
The novel coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 20,000 people, killed hundreds, and has put millions of people in China under quarantine is increasingly affecting travel not just within, but into and out of the country. Nearby countries are handling cases and deaths of their own. All of this could throw a wrench into the Mobile World Congress as the trade show is set to begin in Barcelona on February 24. Two major participants, LG and ZTE, have announced that they won't be there.
ZTE's had a rough go of things in the US, but last year we saw the company step back up to the plate and try to tempt shoppers with the affordable Axon 10 Pro. First launching with Android 9 Pie, Axon 10 Pro owners in Europe started seeing the arrival of Android 10 OTA updates earlier this month, and this week we learn of the availability of a sideload update package for users in the US.
Over the past few years, we've seen the emergence of a new category of phone: the budget flagship. Pioneered by brands like OnePlus, these affordable devices have a lot of the desirable qualities of phones that cost considerably more. At just $550, ZTE's Axon 10 Pro packs a spec wallop, and it seems like a great option on paper — but questionable software decisions and lousy image processing spoil what could've otherwise been an easy recommendation.
When ZTE involuntarily exited the US smartphone market last year, it effectively pressed a big “reset” button on its strong carrier relationships. While the brand has since returned via Verizon’s prepaid brand Visible (ZTE makes the R2 smartphone), ZTE has remained uncommitted as to when and how it will reintroduce itself to Americans in a more substantial and serious way. The Axon 10 Pro could be the first step - if ZTE decides to launch it here. The affordable flagship sells for 600 Euro in a number of European countries, where it launched very recently.
The Axon 10 Pro has most of the trappings you’d expect of a high-end phone - wireless charging, a top-tier chipset, big 6.5" OLED display, in-screen fingerprint scanner, and three rear cameras - but ZTE does cut a few corners to get the MSRP quite so low.
Everyone who's anyone is showing off a 5G phone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, and ZTE has eagerly joined the prestigious club. The US government's favorite OEM has unveiled the Axon 10 Pro 5G, with triple rear cameras, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and a waterdrop notch. On the non-5G front, ZTE also unveiled the Blade V10 with a 32MP front-facing camera for AI smart selfies.