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ZTE Outlines Plans To Go Up-Market

2/16/2011 11:55:53 AM Eastern

Barcelona, Spain - Chinese
cellphone maker ZTE outlined plans
here at the Mobile World Congress to shift its focus to the mid- and high-end
cellphone markets, and as part of that strategy, the company unveiled its
flagship Android smartphone, the Skate.

ZTE

ZTE currently offers a handful of devices in the U.S. market, having
entered the U.S. in 2008 with the launch of a clamshell phone for prepaid
carrier MetroPCS. The carrier currently offers the $49 ZTE Agent bar phone.
Late last year, Sprint launched ZTE's Peel battery-powered cradle, which adds
Sprint EV-DO Rev. 0 data capability to second- and third-generation iPod
Touches. In the first half, T-Mobile has promised to offer a ZTE USB modem with
42Mbps HSPA+ technology.

 Under the new strategy, ZTE said it "will
accelerate its expansion of the smart devices portfolio with its latest
smartphones, tablets and Internet TV box devices," building what it called a
"smart information platform" for business and consumer use. The company also
builds wireless infrastructure equipment.

 ZTE admitted that its "previous terminal
strategy focusing on middle- to low-end products obviously no longer fits with
the current competitive landscape."

The company's new Skate, which is
thin and weighs only 4.2 ounces, features a 4.3-inch touchscreen, Android 2.3
OS, 800MHz processor, Wi-Fi, Adreno 200 graphics processing unit (GPU) to
support high-definition video, 5-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, assisted GPS
capability, hardware compass and G-sensor. It operates in foreign 3G HSDPA
networks and will be available in May. Plans for a U.S. version weren't
announced.

 Also at the show, the company showcased its
Android-based Amigo slide phone targeted to youth, the Blade Android
smartphone, and the F952 handset running Brew MP. ZTE also showcased its
tablets, including the Light with 10-inch screen, Android 3.0, and
third-quarter launch date.