ZTE might not be a name as familiar to many smartphone shoppers. On these shores it may lag behind Samsung and HTC but in its native China, ZTE is a telecoms giant. Its lack a major profile outside of its native country although this could be set to change with the launch of its latest device. It packs a punch, and what’s more it runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

The UK’s mobile market is a key target for ZTE and this month at Mobile World Congress, the launch of the Mimosa X will show how the firm hopes to make a splash with a new range of high profile ZTE Android smartphones.

ZTE is a company that has for many years produced phones for networks and carriers to apply their own branding to, with Orange releasing many ZTE phones under its own branding in the UK. ZTE is pushing more to build a name for its own company outside of China now though, with many of its recent launches being show highlights at Mobile World Congress.

Much like other devices at the top-end of the smartphone market the Mimosa X is a big device. The phone has a 4.3 inch screen with a resolution of 540 x 960. This isn’t the biggest phone around, and with the recent HD showings at MWC it isn’t the sharpest screen either, but it is still impressive enough in terms of watching video and browsing with super sharp text and graphics. It won’t match up to Sony’s newly launched Xperia S which has a screen resolution of 720 x 1280 but it will hold its own.

The fact that the Mimosa X will run Ice Cream Sandwich at its launch will pique the interest of many UK consumers. Currently only running on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus which was the launch device for the new operating system, Android phone manufacturers have been slow to adopt the update. It is only now at Mobile World Congress that ICS phones are starting to make an appearance in any significant numbers.

For some, like Motorola, it could even be 2013 before they see it. The device will also run ZTE’s software alongside Android. A lot like HTC’s user interface, Skate will add extras running alongside Android although its likely user experience will be the only thing to define whether it makes Android 4.0 fulfil its potential or whether it slows it down.

The smartphone is powered by a Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core 1.2 GHz processor which suggests it should be fairly powerful but may well get overshadowed by the quad-cores said to be launching at Mobile World Congress. Even so, the processor is coupled with an Icera 450 modem which will allow HSPA+ speeds of 21Mbps.

It will come with a 5 megapixel camera which is hardly a market leader although it does have a front-facing 0.3 megapixel camera for video calling. The Mimosa X has the usual connectivity on-board with GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. What might also be of interest are the AV capabilities which ZTE says will make it easier to share content including video and audio.

The smartphone is looking to be launched in the UK around the summer. If ZTE want to really start taking a chunk of the UK’s smartphone market then the main stickler for many will be price. So far nothing has been suggested about the device, other than its operating system, that makes it seriously turn any heads. The Sony Xperia S looks likely to be a similar device with a few healthier specs. The Xperia range is likely to get an Android 4.0 update later this year so if a consumer is willing to wait, then why not?

But if the Mimosa X undercuts its competitors then ZTE could easily find that this is the device that starts to get them recognition in the UK. ZTE is already one of the fastest growing smartphone manufacturers in the world, only really beaten in that respect by Apple. 2012 could see them climb to the top of the market at the expense of companies like LG and HTC.


This is a guest post by Simon Drew. We Thank Simon Drew for this wonderful article.