China’s Not Happy About US Sanctions On ZTE

ZTE is a well-known manufacturer of telecom equipment, and while they have seen success in the past they are more than worried about the future with the US looking to impose sanctions on the company. As you can imagine, China’s not happy about this turn of events and are looking to hopefully stop this action before it goes too far.

Hong Lei, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, stated that “China is opposed to the US citing domestic laws to place sanctions on Chinese enterprises”. The restrictions were only announced yesterday and were made on the back of allegations that the company planned have sold US-made equipment to Iran in 2012. This is in violation of the US export restrictions with Iran, but this move may have an impact on other companies just as much.

Intel, Qualcomm and Microsoft all supply parts and equipment to ZTE, something which will now require paperwork which will “generally be denied”. ZTE are obviously worried that, since they cooperated with the US since the trading with Iran first surfaced in 2012, they are going to be hit badly by the restrictions, ultimately causing “significant supply problems to ZTE”. The company has already taken a hit with the trading of company shares being halted.

ZTE Will Release Its Own Brand of Smartwatches

ZTE has yet to enter the battle with its own smartwatch. However, according to Lu Qianhao, head of the Shenzhen-based company’s handset marketing strategy, ZTE might be working on some that are predicted to launch somewhere around Q2 2014.

The same Lu Qianhao stated that their aim is not to launch something as prestigious as the Galaxy Gear, but focus on something more budget-friendly and basic. Also, the new smartwatches will be compatible with the ZTE line at first, though there are talks of introducing other versions which will be compatible with all other Android smartphones. Besides the smartwatches, ZTE is also looking into other gadgets, such as the Google Glass, but no specific plans or news are available at the moment.

Mr. Lu said that the new smartwatch should help make ZTE’s smartphones more attractive. He also said that part of ZTE’s strength lies in its deep understanding of telecommunications network technology, as the company’s core business is providing telecom operators with network gear. With more Chinese brands jumping on the smartwatch bandwagon, the fledgling market may soon get crowded with more affordable models, similar to what has already happened to smartphones.

ZTE plans to release on the Chinese market at first, and afterwards gradually make their product available to Europe and the US markets later on.

Thank you The Wall Street Journal for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BGR

ZTE Grand S Flex Introduced To Europe

ZTE have just unveiled their latest handset to the European market, the ZTE Grand S Flex. Despite the naming, there is no curved screen or flexible display, which you might be inclined to think after having seen LG announce their G Flex curved smartphone. The Grand S Flex will arrive immediately in Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and will also launch shortly in Germany, Finland and Poland.

Here is a quick run-down of the specifications of the phone:

  • CPU – Dual core 1.2GHz
  • OS – Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • RAM – 1GB
  • Storage –  16GB and up to 32GB MicroSD
  • Screen – 5 inch 720 x 1280 touch screen
  • Cameras –  5MP rear facing camera with autofocus, LED flash and video recording. 1MP front facing camera for video calls
  • Battery –  2300 mAh Li-Ion
  • Weight –  130g (battery included)

ZTE’s smartphones are recognised within the European market as being excellent value for money so we should certainly expect to see the same with the ZTE Grand S Flex in terms of pricing. Though that pricing is still TBA, and sadly we aren’t sure if there are any plans to the release the handset to the USA or the UK, but we can always hope.

Image courtesy of ZTE

Three New ZTE Dual-Core Handsets Announced

ZTE has announced three new devices, Blade Q Mini, Blade Q and Blade Q Maxi in the Blade series for European market. The Blade Q Mini has a 4-inch capacitive touch screen display with a 480 x 800 pixels resolution, Blade Q has a 4.5-inch capacitive touch screen display with a 480 x 854 pixels resolution display and the Blade Q Maxi has a 5-inch capacitive touch screen display with a 480 x 854 pixels resolution.

The trio phones are powered by a 1.3 GHz dual-core MediaTek MT6572 processor with Mali 400 GPU and run on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. They pack 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and come with 21 MB/s 3G HSPA+ connectivity. AO Wen, General Manager of ZTE Handset European Operation Office had this to say about these new Blade Q series phones:

At ZTE we believe that smartphone technology should be accessible for everyone. The popularity of the Blade series across Europe proves that there is real consumer appetite for high performance smartphones at a great price. The features available across the Blade handsets redefine ‘value for money’ in the smartphone market, and we’re confident that the ZTE Blade Q range will continue to grow ZTE’s position in Europe.

In terms of software, the handsets come pre-loaded with Evernote, Dropbox and Office Suite. There has not been any word of availability or pricing at the moment, but time will reveal everything.

Thank you Fonearena for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Fonearena.

LG Announced Fireweb Phone Running On Firefox OS

LG Electronics’ new smartphone based on Firefox OS offers slightly better hardware specs than competing products. Firefox OS is built around applications written in HTML5. Mozilla Foundation is pitching it as a better option for low-end smartphones, and devices running it will compete head-to-head with cheap Android smartphones and with devices from other platforms such as Nokia’s Asha.

The smartphone has a 4-inch display with a 480 x 320 pixel resolution and is powered by a 1GHz chip from Qualcomm. It also has 2GB of storage and a 5-megapixel camera. That compares to the ZTE Open and to Alcatel One Touch’s Fire, both of which have 3.5-inch screens and 3.2-megapixel cameras.

The phone will come with version 1.1 of Firefox OS, which Mozilla launched earlier this month. The upgrade improves application load times and has smoother scrolling, Mozilla said at the time. It also includes new features such as MMS messaging and enhancements to email, contacts management and calendar.

Telefonica will also launch devices with Firefox OS in Peru, Uruguay and Mexico in the next couple of days, it said. The operator already sells smartphones with the OS in Spain, Colombia and Venezuela which have exceeded expectations, as a spokesman said via email.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of PCWorld.

ZTE Nubia Z7 NBA Edition Leaked

Both the ZTE Nubia Z5 and ZTE Nubia Z5 Mini have been released in the United States a few weeks before and the Chinese telecommunication giant signed a partnership with NBA team  Houston Rockets. ZTE’s  latest handset, Nubia Z7 has been leaked through the Chinese social network.

The press shot of ZTE Nubia Z7 was spotted on Public Relation manager of ZTE Nubia’s Weibo page . He posted the rear look of the Nubia Z7 and asked his followers whether they like the design of Nubia Z7.

The image shows that there is a camera, Nubia logo and NBA logo on the rear-side of the Z7. It seems like the Nubia Z7 has NBA edition and will launch in the American market. Sources mentioned that a NBA star is going to be the product ambassador of ZTE Nubia Z7 NBA Edition.

According to sources, the Nubia N7 NBA Edition is powered by the Snapdragon 800 MSM8974AB SoC, with faster graphics and memory bandwidth, which would make it the second device in the market to feature Qualcomm’s superior Snapdragon 800 variants, such as Xiaomi who announced the Mi3 already, but the device won’t go on sale until next year, according to reports.

Thank you NextPowerUp and GSM Insider for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of GSM Insider.


ZTE Rolls Out Grand S In The US


ZTE has announced US availability of its thin Grand S Smartphone. The 5-inch class device has a lot in common with the Nubia 5, but sacrifices a little on the battery capacity, to keep its 0.27-inch thickness, lowest in its class, in the US market.

Alike the Nubia 5, Grand S lacks LTE support, but supports the HSPA+ technology at speeds of up to 21.1 Mbps. Unlike some of its APAC variants, it features a single SIM card slot. Its 5-inch screen features a full-HD screen with  1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, and a scratch-free oleophobic surface.

Looking into the camera tech area, you get a combination of 13-megapixel primary back camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera, but there’s none of the sapphire-glass lens or Konica-Minolta auto-focus features present. In terms of performance, the Grand S runs the same Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.50 GHz quad-core chip as the Nubia 5, having the same 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage, running on Android 4.1.

The Grand S skimps on the battery in a desperate effort to score its only USP, its thickness. It is powered by a 1,750 mAh battery, compared to the 2,300 mAh battery under the hood of Nubia 5, which we feel looks a tight squeeze for a 5-inch class device, despite its energy-efficient 28 nm SoC that isn’t as loaded as the Snapdragon 600 or Snapdragon 800.

The Grand S, much alike the Nubia 5, will be sold directly, and can be found on amazon at a price of $399.99 ( £247 ) through Amazon.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images  courtesy of ZTE Corporation.

ZTE Geek Tegra 4 Smartphone Unveiled In China

GizChina report that the Chinese smartphone vendor ZTE have unveiled their latest smartphone powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 4 – the ZTE Geek. The ZTE Geek features a quad core 1.8GHz Tegra 4 chipset design paired up with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory. The display measures in at a sizeable 5 inches with a 1920 x 1080 full HD resolution. There’s a 13MP rear camera and 2MP front camera as well as WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and Glonass to top off connectivity. A 2300 mAh battery powers the whole device. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is the operating system of choice.

Sadly for eager onlookers from outside of China you currently cannot get this handset. The ZTE Geek has only been launched in China with support for the TD-SCDMA 3G network of China mobile. That said ZTE do have a tradition of bring quite a lot of their handsets to the European and North American markets so the ZTE Geek could be released there in the near future.

Image courtesy of GizChina

Apple Losing Ground In Chinese Mobile Market

A report from BGR suggests that Apple is having a really tough time in the Chinese mobile market, one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world. Data from analytic firm Canalys states that Apple’s market share nearly halved year on year for Q2. In Q2 of 2012 Apple had around 9% share, in Q3 of 2013 that fell to around 5%. Apparently Apple is being pushed out of the market place by a wide range of Android Smartphones with dramatically better specifications and lower prices. Chinese smartphone vendors Lenovo, ZTE and Xiamoi have all done very well while Apple struggle.

“Apple is only focused on the high-end segment, and China’s smartphone market growth right now is coming from the mid- to low-end,” Nicole Peng of Canalys China said. “Apple doesn’t have any products in the mid- to low-end and that’s where Xiaomi has been building their brand awareness.”

Apple’s inability to negotiate a deal with China Mobile, who have 750 million subscribers and are the world’s largest wireless carrier, is the main reason behind their poor showing in China. Apple have refused to accept lower subsidies from China Mobile which is problematic for their sales. With Apple lacking mid range models they are simply being priced out of the market by better competing phones.

“Apple is no longer the prestige handset that everybody is aspiring to,” Shaun Rein, the managing director of the Shanghai-based China Market Research Group, tells Bloomberg. ”The smartphone has become more of a commodity and Xiaomi is selling good hardware at a cheap price.”

Image courtesy of Apple

China Expresses Strong Dissatisfaction Over US Accusations

The Chinese is not liking United States’ alleged accusation and has expressed “resolution opposition” and strong dissatisfaction. U.S. accused China of cyber espionage by using the Chinese origin IT products to spy on United States’ internal operations within the government and its organizations, such as products made by Huawei, ZTE and also involving Lenovo in some form. It is also noted earlier that Sprint who will be acquiring a Japanese based carrier that it will comply by not using Chinese origin IT hardware. Ever since, 2 of the world’s top economies have been mudslinging each other ever.

China points out that the accusations made by United States has no grounds as the only evidence is nothing more than series of attacks on U.S. of which half of it originated from China.

The new provision that was introduced some days back which will be signed as a law on Thursday will stop NASA and even Department of Justice and Department of Commerce will not be allowed any IT hardware made in China, unless there is a federal approval from law enforcement officials before acquiring them from China.

It is estimated by U.S. Congressional Research Service that Chinese advanced IT imports to United costs $129 Billion. Stopping this also could violate World Trade Organization’s rules, but on the other hand, China did not sign the agreement setting international rules for government procurement with WTO, therefore points to the possibility of the Chinese trying to repair the situation to be futile.

It is noted in China Dail and The People’s Daily that Shen Danyang, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, China that the the bill that United States drafted sends a ‘very wrong signal’. He also said,”This will directly impact partnerships of Chinese enterprises and American business as they conduct regular trade. This abuse of so-called national security measures is unfair to Chinese enterprises, and extends the discriminatory practice of presumption of guilt. This severely damages mutual trust between the U.S. and China.”

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Kei who urged U.S. to abandon the law said that the bill uses internet security as an excuse to take discriminatory steps against Chinese companies.

Source: Reuters

Sprint And Softbank Won’t Use Huawei After Their Upcoming Merger

Huawei maybe getting another blow from their United States market (or what’s left of it) as both the mobile carrier companies, Spring Nextel Corp. and Softbank Corp. told to U.S. lawmakers that they will not use equipments made by the Chinese based tech company Huawei Technologies after they merge.

Both the companies have been concerned about the potential electronic spy issue and decided not to use the Chinese manufacturer’s hardware. The U.S. agency is currently reviewing a merger worth $20Billion for national security, but Representative Mike Roger told Bloomberg via email that he expects the companies to make the same assurances before the deal is approved.

Rogers added,”I have met with Softbank and Sprint regarding this merger and was assured they would not integrate Huawei in to the Sprint network and would take mitigation efforts to replace Huawei equipment in the Clearwire network.”

Clearwire uses certain equipments from Huawei whereas the internal core network is powered by vendors such as Cisco. The company’s chief technical office John Saw assured that the Clearwire will be reducing Huawei’s presence in its high-speed wireless service network.

Huawei doesn’t have any knowledge about the national security report, but a U.S. spokesman said,”“If government approval of the transaction is somehow contingent on an agreement to restrict purchase of equipment from any vendor based on the flag of heritage, then it is a sad day for free and open global trade and it does nothing to secure the network. Everyone is global and every company faces the same cyber challenges.”

Even though Huawei’s name is only mentioned by the companies, ZTE would be facing the same scenario. Softbank is a Japanese based telecom company which happen to buy base band units and wireless systems from Huawei and ZTE.

It has been reported here that the U.S. government has introduced provisions to stop government agencies to use electronic equipment made by Chinese companies.

Source: Bloomberg 

U.S. To Ban Purchase And Use Of Chinese-Made IT Systems And Electronics

After a growing concern over Chinese “Cyber Sabotage” attacks, a law will be introduced which will stop U.S. government agencies such as NASA, Department of Justice and Commerce Departments from buying Information Technology systems from China unless the federal law enforcement agency will give an approval.

It was only last year when the intelligence committee told the U.S. telecom companies not to do business with Huawei Technologies and ZTE as the influence that the Chinese government has over the companies will pose a threat to the United States. This could be a big blow to Chinese-based computer maker Lenovo in the future as well, especially if they cannot sell their systems to government agencies and personnel.

A provision was added in a 240-page report to introduce a law stating that government agencies are required to make a cyberattack assessment risk with the law enforcement agencies when buying technology from China. It is also mentioned that it involves “any risk associated with such systems being produced, manufactured or assembled by one or more entities that are owned, directed or subsidized” from China.

Many top officials and President Barack Obama condemned the cyber attacks originating from China and made it clear during an interview with ABC news that these cyber attacks are absolutely sponsored by governments.

Chinese President Xi Jinping however said that U.S. needs to avoid making groundless accusations and start working together to resolve the problem. They can also challenge this decision as a violation of World Trade Organization rules, but that may be a futile attempt as the Chinese are not the members of WTO who set international trading rules.

It also should be noted that a U.S. based security company said that there is a Chinese military unit which is most likely behind the series of cyber attacks on the United States.

Source: Reuters

Intel Launches Clover Trail+ Platform and Mentions the Next-Gen Merrifield Platform

Intel brought the 22nm architecture to the desktop in the form of “Ivy Bridge” back on April the 29th 2012. The transition to 22nm represented a large step forward in power efficiency and a modest step forward in clock-per-clock performance. Now Intel is promising that this transition will hit their Atom processors by the end of this year and this is particularly exciting news for mobile and tablet users. Intel Atom processors are designed from the ground up with power consumption in mind, they have to be incredibly power efficient for the sake of battery life and that often means Intel have to reduce clock speeds to get the right balance. However, the introduction of 22nm means that Intel can now hit these same power envelopes with much more performance. As well as being able to offer lower-powered options to really squeeze the absolute maximum battery life out of these 22nm tri-gate Atom System-on-Chips (SoCs).

However, as we wait for these new 22nm Atom SoCs to be released, Intel has just announced three new SoCs based the 32nm Clover Trail+ Atom micro-architecture at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Spain. The Intel Atom Z2580, Z2560 and Z2520 are the three new SoCs to hit the market.

Intel are claiming double the compute performance and three times the graphical capabilities over the previous generation of mobile Atom processors – all while maintaining “competitive low power”. New features include support for 16 Megapixel (MP)  image sensors, burst mode capabilities capturing 8MP images at 15 frames per second (FPS), hardware acceleration for 1080p video encoding and decoding at 30 FPS and enhanced High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities – something Intel needed to include because Nvidia’s Tegra 4 is also promising this. However, integrated LTE support didn’t materialise although Intel does offer the 4G capable XMM 7160 modem. As an extra Intel is also providing real-time facial recognition technology as part of the Clover Trail+ platform.

Lenovo’s IdeaPhone K900 will be the first phone to boast Intel’s flagship Z2580 Atom SoC on its 5.5″ high resolution display. More products using these SoCs have been promised by ASUS and ZTE, while Intel claims Android tablets will be powered by these in the not-so-distant future.

The main story from the even though is Intel’s Merrfield 22nm Atom SoCs which Intel will start producing this year. If ARM progress is anything to go by, Intel are really going to need the lowered power and improved performance that the 22nm process has to offer. Add to that the fact Intel is already having a hard time encouraging App and OS developers to opt for x86 instruction set support – the pathway to mobile success for Intel looks long and obstacle filled.

Production begins in late 2013 meaning finished products will not arrive until Q2 of 2014. By then Nvidia’s Tegra 4 and Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa (eight core) SoCs will already be established in the market. Best of luck Intel – you’re going to need it.