ZTE CEO Lixin Cheng talks growth, the future of 5G and more at CES 2017


At CES 2017, Android Authority’s own Darcy Lacouvee had a conversation with ZTE USA CEO Lixin Cheng about the fantastic 2016 the company enjoyed, the future of connected devices, what we can expect from upcoming 5G technology, and a whole lot more.

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ZTE launches Kickstarter campaign for crowd-sourced Project CSX “Hawkeye” phone

3 days ago

ZTE enjoyed a continuous growth in sales and market share in the US last year, at a time when the overall smartphone market has actually seen a small decline.  ZTE now claims 13% of the market share in the US, and have consolidated their position as the third most popular Android OEM in the country, with close to 18 million units shipped.

Of course, ZTE has been around in the US for a while, and are known for their affordable line of entry-level and mid-range smartphones. However, it was only recently, with the Axon series, that ZTE made an impact in the flagship segment, with the Axon 7 considered one of the best smartphones of 2016.

ZTE also launched 8-inch and 10-inch Android tablets last year that feature LTE connectivity, introduced a “mini” iteration of the Axon 7, and launched Project CSX, that had users vote on what features they would like on a smartphone and its name, leading to the Hawkeye smartphone, that ZTE is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for.

While ZTE is better known for their smartphones, the company has invested heavily in connected devices, such as devices for connected cars that included the AT&T Mobley, which makes your car a Wi-Fi Hotspot, and T-Mobile SyncUp Drive, which provides an easy way to monitor your car, track the location, connect to Wi-Fi when on the go, and more.

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ZTE launches Kickstarter campaign for crowd-sourced Project CSX “Hawkeye” phone

3 days ago

ZTE has invested over $300 million in 5G technology

ZTE has also invested over $300 million in 5G technology, with the aim to able to deploy it over existing 4G networks. The company is hoping to set the standard in the future of mobile technology, especially with connected devices continuing to become a big part of our future. Low latency and high speeds are essential for this, and ZTE is currently seeing speeds up to 15 Gbps in their testing.

However, it’s early days yet, and we can expect a commercial launch only around 2020. While 5G infrastructure will require a heavy investment of close to $40 billion by network carriers, ZTE is also showcasing what they call pre-5G, that is based on current 4G networks, which means that users will be able to enjoy incredible data speeds without needing to upgrade their current smartphones.

Lixin Cheng credits a lot of ZTE’s success to the consumers, with the company continuously striving to provide the best devices and experiences possible based on consumer needs and wants. ZTE announced the launch of the Z Community at last year’s CES, and community members play an active role in letting ZTE know what best suits their needs. ZTE has over 33 million active users in the US, and the goal is to do as much as possible to make them even happier.

Catch the whole interview with ZTE USA CEO Lixin Cheng in the video above, and stay tuned with Android Authority for more great coverage from CES 2017!

ZTE Blade V8 announced: without the Pro moniker but impressive nonetheless

ZTE has been busy announcing phones like the Hawkeye and the Blade V8 Pro. Well, the company is not done yet – we now have more information on the regular Blade V8, and although it lacks the Pro moniker, it boasts a premium design and its camera still sounds pretty impressive.

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ZTE launches Kickstarter campaign for crowd-sourced Project CSX “Hawkeye” phone

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We gave you a hands-on preview of the ZTE Blade V8 Pro just few days ago. Priced at just around $230, the company’s new mid-range phone offers quite a lot: from the 5.5-inch Full HD screen all the way to the dual lens camera on the back with bokeh effects. Well, it turns out that phone has a non-Pro sibling.

The front of the device has no surprises – a glass panel with a finger print scanner which also acts as the home button. However, the back of the regular Blade V8 looks a lot different from the Pro variant. Instead of the textured back and the vertically placed camera lenses, the regular Blade V8 has a smooth aluminium finish with horizontally placed camera lenses. All in all, it gives the device a more subdued but elegant look.

Speaking of camera lenses, the regular Blade V8 can also do some tricks with depth of field. Unlike the Pro which has two 13-megapixel shooters, the regular version has one 13-megapixel camera and another at 2 megapixels. But you can still use the dual lens set-up to take photos where the background is blurred, not unlike Apple’s Portrait mode. What’s interesting is that ZTE claims the device can take 3D photos. Now, 3D here probably doesn’t mean 3D effects that you see in films. My guess is that it’s something like 360-degree photography as the company says, “The dual rear camera is also able to take photos from different angles and combine them together to create high-quality 3D photos.”

Another big differentiating factor is the front camera. Unlike the 8-megapixel shooter found on the Pro, the regular version has a 13-megapixel camera on the front with flash. So no worries if you’re out with your friends in a dimly-lit bar! Other than that, the Blade V8 has a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, powered by Snapdragon 435 and a 2,730mAh battery. There will be two configurations available: 16GB of storage with 2GB of RAM or 32GB of storage with 3GB of RAM.

Unlike the 8-megapixel shooter found on the Pro, the regular version has a 13-megapixel camera on the front with flash.

Although the Blade V8 Pro is said to be launching in the US, it looks like the regular version might only be for Russia, Japan, and certain European countries. But we will be sure to keep you updated on release dates and pricing!

What are your thoughts on ZTE’s new devices? Your cup of tea or nah? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

ZTE looks to be cutting up to 3,000 jobs



The smartphone market remains as competitive as ever and tough times call for tough measure. According to industry sources, ZTE is preparing to shed some 3,000 jobs after seeing a drop in its share of the Chinese handset market.

Allegedly, ZTE plans to cut around 10 percent of its handset workforce in China, which equates to around 600 jobs. A manager at one of the company’s overseas branches also states that his department will lose around 10 percent of its staff by the end of January as well, so the cuts appear to be widespread.

The news compounds recent troubles for ZTE. The US Commerce Department has been holding off on a ban on exports from US companies to ZTE, after the company allegedly broke a sales sanction placed on Iran. The ban has not yet gone ahead due to a series of reprieves, the latest of which expires at the end of February, but the uncertainty has been weighing heavily on the company. If the ban is ever enforced, ZTE could face severe problems with is supply chain, as US companies like Qualcomm and Intel are essential for around a third of the components sourced by the manufacturer.

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ZTE Blade V8 Pro hands-on

2 days ago

During his New Year speech, chairman Zhao Xianming allegedly stated that the company had “encountered its biggest crisis in its 31 year history” in 2016. The company is looking to streamline, see restructure, its management operations in order to improve profitability. We’ll just have to see how these cuts end up impacting the company’s smartphone business.

ZTE Blade V8 Pro hands-on

ZTE is launching a new Android smartphone today (yes, today) as part of CES 2017 this week. The ZTE Blade V8 Pro looks to be a promising mid-range device, with one really stand out feature: its dual 13MP rear cameras.

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ZTE ZMAX Pro Review – is a $100 smartphone worth buying?

August 8, 2016

We got a chance to get a bit of hands-on time with the Blade V8 Pro during CES. By far, the most impressive thing about this phone is the two rear cameras. One of the lenses is used to get depth information for your images. Basically, this should allow you to take a photo of your subject and put it in sharp focus, based on a particular aperture. Everything else in the image can have a slightly blurred look in the background, which should give your images a more professional look.

The camera software in the ZTE Blade V8 Pro will also allow you to quickly change where the focus is in the foreground or background in your images. Again, this is a nice feature that is usually reserved for higher end smartphones, so it’s interesting that it’s available on a more affordable device. The front-facing camera on the phone is more conventional with just one 8MP sensor for making selfies.

As far as the other hardware aspects of the Blade V8 Pro, it has a 5.5-inch display with Full HD resolution. Inside, there’s a octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, along with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of onboard storage, with a microSD card slot to add up to 128GB of extra storage. It’s also a dual SIM device for people who need two phone numbers on one smartphone.

ZTE decided to ship the phone with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box instead of Nougat, in case you are bothered by that. It has a 3,140mAh battery, which should allow for some decent battery life.  For people who are more security conscious, there’s also a fingerprint sensor in the home button for signing into your device.

People who like both USB Type-C ports and your regular 3.5mm headphone jack will be happy to know that both are available on the ZTE Blade V8 Pro. We also noticed that the backing of the phone is made of textured rubber, which should allow people to have a better grip while using it.

Of course, we got only a few minutes to check out the ZTE Blade V8 Pro at CES 2017, so you might want to wait for our full review before you decide to jump in and purchase this phone. If you are convinced already this is your next Android phone, you are in luck as pre-orders are supposed to begin today at various online retailers for the price of $229.98.

ZTE launches Kickstarter campaign for crowd-sourced Project CSX “Hawkeye” phone

ZTE is taking the unusual step of launching one of its new Android smartphones via a Kickstarter fund raising campaign. The phone in question was previously announced as Project CSX, and now has an official name: Hawkeye. The company launched the campaign as part of its CES 2017 announcements.

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Here’s the winning product concept in ZTE’s crowd-voted design contest

October 20, 2016

Previously, ZTE held a contest for people to submit concepts for new devices and let the public vote for the top five designs. In this case, the winning product idea was an Android smartphone that included eye-tracking technology. ZTE says the final product will use a high resolution, front-facing camera on the phone but did not mention any megapixel numbers.  The camera will detect iris motion which can then be translated into any number of standard Android commands, such as swiping up and down.

In addition, the phone will also come with a self-adhesive case that will allow it to stick to walls and other surfaces. Even the final name of Hawkeye was voted on by the ZTE community. Aside from those two features, Hawkeye will also have a 5.5-inch HD display, dual rear cameras with enhanced image and zoom capabilities (again, no megapixel numbers yet), a fingerprint sensor, and a version of Android Nougat, The phone’s battery and memory size are currently unknown.

ZTE is looking to raise $500,000 within 44 days to begin production of Hawkeye. There’s only one backer reward tier of $199, which gets you one of the new phones. Assuming the Kickstarter campaign is successful, ZTE will begin shipping the phone in September, which is when it will also be made available to the general public.

Check it out on Kickstarter

And ZTE is another manufacturer preparing to launch an Android Wear smartwatch

ZTE is readying the launch of its first Android Wear smartwatch, the company has revealed. The upcoming wearable will have LTE capabilities and will operate without the requirement of being paired to a smartphone.

In an interview yesterday, Lixin Cheng, chairman and CEO of ZTE USA, confirmed that the company already has a US carrier on board to help sell the watch and that it would be released later in 2017.

According to CNET, Mr Cheng said that a number of problems, such as poor battery life and lack of LTE, had previously stopped ZTE entering the market. Cheng said that now, “All the issues are behind us.”

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ZTE is entering the smartwatch arena, along with Swarovski who also revealed smartwatch plans during CES, despite the market dropping by more than 50 percent year on year in Q3 2016.

ZTE isn’t completely in the dark when it comes to smartwatch production, however, having previously worked on watches for non-Android Wear platforms (see the ZTE W01 pictured at the top of the page).

ZTE didn’t disclose any further details about the upcoming product.

Dual camera ZTE Blade V8 leaked ahead of CES launch, by ZTE…


CES is just a week away, but that hasn’t shut the door on pre-release leaks. If anything, the leaks will only increase in the last minute build up to the Vegas-based tech show. The latest leak from the CES vaults is the dual camera ZTE Blade V8, which has appeared online in some kooky marketing photos on the company’s own website.

The page has since been pulled but as anyone that has ever done something embarrassing online knows: once it’s on the internet it’s not going away. Some hands-on pics have also appeared via Russian site, Hi-TechMail. The Blade V8 specs are thoroughly mid-range but that 13 MP/2 MP dual camera is the thing we’re most interested in. The 2 MP lens is for capturing depth information and there’s a second 13 MP camera on the front.

Dual camera ZTE Blade V8 leaked ahead of CES launch, by ZTE…

According to the text on ZTE’s deleted page, the dual cameras will allow you to “add DSLR-like bokeh effects to your photos and to shoot before focusing. The dual cameras also let you shoot stereoscopic 3D photos.” These will be viewable in 360 degrees on VR headsets. The Blade V8 will also be capable of capturing “high-speed motion with multi-exposure images”.

The V8 has a matte finish metal body with chamfered edges on the back complemented by 2.5D glass on the front around its 5.2-inch Full HD display. It’s powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 435 (MSM8940) SoC with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB ROM. It’ll run Nougat out of the box with ZTE’s MiFavor 4.0 UI.

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Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

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There’s a fingerprint sensor up front and the whole shebang is 7.7 mm thin. The fingerprint sensor works from any angle (yay) and supports gestures for shortcuts to specific apps or actions. Fingerprint app locking and secure mobile payments are both to be included on the Blade V8. Previous versions of the Blade weren’t global releases, so it remains to be seen if the Blade V8 will make it to U.S. shores.

Thoughts on dual cameras? A great idea or just another gimmick?

AT&T rolls out Marshmallow update for its ZTE ZMAX 2

AT&T first started selling the ZTE ZMAX 2 way back in September 2015. Back then, the phone came with Android 5.1 installed out of the box. This week, well over a year later, AT&T has started rolling out an update to the phone that finally upgrades the OS to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

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Best AT&T Android phones

2 days ago

The download for this update is pretty large; it has a file size of 1.1GB. That means owners without an AT&T unlimited plan will definitely want to grab this Marshmallow update via a Wi-Fi connection. Also, the ZTE ZMAX 2 only has 16GB of on-board storage, so it’s more than possible that owners will have to delete some apps, videos and podcasts so it can have enough free space to download and install the update.

Aside from the upgrade to Marshmallow, AT&T says this update has the November 2016 security updates from Google. Be aware that it may take a few days for the update to show up on your specific device.

As a reminder, the ZTE ZMAX 2 also has a 5.5-inch 720p display, 2GB of RAM, an 8MP rear camera, a 2MP front-facing camera and a 3,000mAh battery. AT&T is currently selling it as part of its prepaid GoPhone lineup for $59.99.

Lenovo, ZTE, and others also spotted running Adups OTA spyware


A few weeks ago, local US smartphone manufacturer BLU was caught out unintentionally sending sensitive user data to Adups, a data farming company in China. Unfortunately it appears that this might not be a one off event, as some larger global manufacturers have been spotted using the same unsecure software. According to research conducted by mobile security firm Trustlook, a range of other manufacturers, including notable brands Lenovo, Gionee, and ZTE, have been using software from the same company and their own consumers may be affected.

For a refresher, Adups software is used to provide over-the-air firmware updates for hundreds of companies and also acts as a data collector to build a database for spam text prevention. Some smartphone OEMs choose to pick Adups instead of the OTA alternative for Android provided by Google, which isn’t bad in and of itself. However, the software package was caught out collecting and transmitting sensitive user data without consent, including contact, call, and SMS data, every 72 hours after receiving a modified OTA update. This was initially discovered by Kryotowire researchers monitoring data sent by BLU R1 HD smartphones in the US. BLU never intended to collect this data from consumers and swiftly removed Adups from its phones, but at the time it was also speculated that other manufacturers could also be running the same software with the same risks to consumer data.

Since then, Trustlook has conducted additional research into a wider range of manufacturers and discovered that 43 OEMs have utilized Adups’ Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) technology within the past year. Its research confirms that Adups collects IMEI, IMSI, MAC address, Android version number, and operator information, in addition to the user’s SMS text messages, call log data and contact phone numbers. The researchers have also discovered the identifier (MD5) of 91 additional affected versions of com.adups.fota and com.adups.fota.sysoper applications, which can be used to detect whether a device is affected.

See also:

BLU may be facing a class-action lawsuit over sending user data to China

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While many of the complicit manufacturers were discovered in China, where Adups is based, the FOTA software has been spotted on All Win Tech smartphones in Taiwan, Archos devices in France, DEXP in Russia, and Prestigio hardware in the Czech Republic. The situation also potentially further affect US consumers, as Lenovo also makes the list accompanying BLU in the US, after Adups software was detected in North Carolina. While BLU is only a small manufacturer, Lenovo is a global Android manufacturer selling devices in every major region, and also owns the Motorola brand which is particularly popular in the US and Europe. Chip manufacturer MediaTek, which is based in Taiwan, is also on the list, and could mean that a larger number of devices are affected. It’s possible that this detection is just the tip of the iceberg.

This revelation contradicts an earlier statement from Adups, which claimed that the surveillance features of its FOTA software were specifically developed for the Chinese market, and that it was unintentionally sent as an update to BLU devices in the US. Even more worryingly, the software has already been shown to execute remote commands with escalated system privileges, and can therefore reprogram devices with OTA updates, as is what happened with BLU. This suggests that the company could switch on data collection for any affected handsets by these manufacturers at any time, if it hasn’t done so already, even without an OEM’s knowledge.

Trustlook’s list of manufacturers who have devices running Adups can be found below.

  • Aaron Electronics
  • Aeon Mobile
  • All Win Tech
  • Amoi Technology
  • Archos
  • AUX
  • Bird
  • BLU
  • Cellon
  • Coship Mobile
  • DEWAV Communication
  • DEXP Digital Experience
  • Eastaeon Technology
  • Electronic Technology
  • Gionee
  • GOSO
  • Hisense
  • Hongyu
  • Huaqin
  • Inventec Corporation
  • Konka Group
  • Lenovo
  • Logicom
  • Longcheer
  • Malata Mobile
  • Mediatek Helio
  • Prestigio
  • Ragentek
  • RDA Micro
  • Reallytek
  • RUIO
  • Sanmu
  • Sprocomm
  • Tinno
  • Uniscope
  • VSUN
  • Water World Technology
  • Wind Communication
  • WingTech
  • Yifang Digital
  • Zhuhai Quanzhi
  • ZTE

Unfortunately this research doesn’t explicitly tell us if these manufacturers are using versions of Adups that are currently transmitting sensitive user data, nor which smartphones are potentially affected. So we don’t know for sure how many of these manufacturers are actually complicit, intentionally or otherwise, in sending what should be confidential user data to Adups.

What also muddies the situation is that although BLU wasn’t aware of the situation on its device, other manufacturers may well be. It’s previously been suggested that shady terms and conditions accepted when setting up a new phone could allow for manufacturers to transfer this type of information with the user’s “consent”. If you are really concerned about the possibility of Adups spying on your messages and other data, it may be wise to steer clear of all of these manufacturers until they clarify the situation.

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These were the biggest password hacks of 2016

1 week ago

If you currently own a device from one of the manufacturers on the list, Trustlook has incorporated a test for Adups into its AntiVirus software. Clever marketing, I know. You can download it for free from the Google Play Store. Although there are in-app purchases, annoying notifications, and it’s own privacy policy states that the app will collect app and other data which can be transferred to affiliated companies around the world, including advertisers, sponsors and other partners. That’s all quite typical for free antivirus software these day, but you’re not alone if you think this sounds a bit hypocritical given the circumstances.

Given that BLU was able to quickly remove the offending software from its devices, it will be telling to see how swift and willing other companies act to remove Adups from their phones, if at all. Currently no other manufacturers have admitted to being involved in this data collection fiasco.

ZTE Grand X4 International Giveaway

It’s that time again! Welcome to the Sunday Giveaway, where each and every week we give you the chance to win a brand-spanking-new Android smartphone or tablet!

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s Google Pixel XL giveaway: Stephen C. (Australia). This week we’re putting the ZTE Grand X 4 on the pedestal. Ready to make your entries?

ZTE Grand X 4 International Giveway!!

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