Rating: Sending coals to Helsinki and Tokyo
Leading Chinese handset maker, ZTE, has announced that it has now sold more than two million ZTE Blade (Android Éclair) handsets – making it one of the top selling smartphones in the world. The company takes particular delight in the fact that this entry level Android phone has done well in Japan and Finland, the home markets for two major ZTE competitors (Nokia and Sony Ericsson). Talk about coals to Newcastle – this is smartphones to Helsinki and Tokyo. Nokia’s decision not to go with Android is looking worse and worse every day. Better still, there are strong indications that an update to Froyo (2.2) will be available this month (June) in Orange’s key markets. So if you own an Orange San Francisco, you can rejoice.Curiously, the news of a Froyo update for the Blade ‘leaked out’ via a French news site, Android France, here. An email from ZTE’s press department name the 26th week of the year as the release date.
This is curious because ZTE’s own news release here talks openly about how the Blade was actually released by Japan’s Softbank as the Venus and shipped with 2.2/Froyo from the word Go.
ZTE’s PR blurbs says, “ZTE’s R&D team integrated Android 2.2 into the device within a very tight timeframe.” 2.2 only became available in May and the handset was out before the end of 2010.
Whereas Nokia, of course, is taking nine months to get a WP7 handset ready. No wonder its market share is declining.
Just to rub it in, ZTE says that in Finland, Blade sales exceeded sales of even the most popular iPhone model between November 2010 and January 2011.
Plus ZTE Blade owners are using their phones more intensively than others. The data traffic volume of Blade users in Finland has peaked at 700MB per month.
What ZTE and Orange did was to prove there was a big gap in the market for a low cost smartphone priced between £80 and £160.
So what’s Orange going to do? It’s going to release the Monte Carlo which is actually another ZTE handset (the Skate) but one which runs Android Gingerbread/2.3.
You can see the specifications here http://shop.orange.co.uk/mobile-phones/orange-monte-carlo.
The handset isn’t available yet but you can sign up for news of its release via email. One site has even suggested the Monte Carlo might sell for less than £100.