Barcelona, Spain - Chinese cellphone maker
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 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.