ZTE is planning to release at least four smartphones this year running Google's Android platform. The company discussed the devices at Mobile World Congress last month in Barcelona, Spain, and now has provided additional details about them.
The devices cover a range of designs and appear aimed at different market segments. One device, code-named the Blade, appears to be a high-end phone with a 2.5-inch touchscreen, GSM/UMTS connectivity, Android 1.6, GPS, WiFi and an FM radio. Another, the Smooth, also has UMTS connectivity and Android 1.6, and appears to be modeled after the Palm Pre, with a full sliding Qwerty keyboard and a 2.8-inch screen. The Racer has similar specifications to the Smooth with a slab-like design. And the Mercury, which looks like the HTC Hero, has a 3.2-inch screen and an EDGE data connection.
ZTE has said it wants to move beyond low-end and mid-range devices with more smartphones, as well as expand its relationships with European and North American carriers. In November, Dale Ying, ZTE's managing director of handset business marketing, told Dow Jones Newswires that the company was in talks with Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, France Telecom Orange and T-Mobile International about smartphones. As for regular handsets and data cards, he said the company was in talks--and conducting tests--with all four of the Tier 1 operators in the United States: AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA and Verizon.
A ZTE spokeswoman said none of the comany's Android devices has so far been confirmed for the North American market, and declined to comment further on the devices.
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