New phone and phablet for Chinese manufacturer

ZTE Grand Memo picChinese manufacturer ZTE has revealed two new smartphones – the Grand Memo phablet and, the first ever Firefox OS-based smartphone, the ZTE Open.

The Shenzhen-headquartered firm is already the world’s fourth biggest smartphone manufacturer and is aiming for further expansion with its latest gizmos which are aimed at opposite ends of the market.

With a 5.7-inch screen, the Grand Memo is 0.2 inches bigger than the best known phablet on the market, the Samsung Galaxy Note. But ZTE has Samsung firmly in its sights with its own phone-tablet hybrid.

Aimed squarely at the high end of the market, the Grand Memo runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and has a powerful quad-core Qualcomm 800 processor. There is 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in storage.

The Grand Memo also has a camera that compares favourably with the best smartphone snappers on the market. The 13-megapixel camera should ensure you’re always ready to capture life’s little moments. There’s a 720 x 1280 high definition display so you’ll be able to view your images with crystal clarity.

While when phablets first came onto the market, they provoked criticism for being too big to use as a phone and too small to be functional as a tablet, their popularity among consumers is increasing.

ZTE believes its new gadget will appeal to those looking for both the portability of a handset and a larger tablet type touchscreen.

Expected to launch in the second quarter of this year, ZTE is confident its new gizmo will soon become an essential part of everyday life for many.

ZTE Open FirefoxHe Shiyou, head of ZTE’s mobile devices devision, said: “The ZTE Grand Memo’s large, high definition screen makes it perfect for media and entertainment, but its uses reach far beyond that. With ZTE’s custom Mifavor UI, a powerful processor, and LTE connectivity, this device offers users a wide array of benefits that go well beyond the capabilities of the typical handset.

“It’s perfect for videos, gaming and music, and also for sending e-mails, checking news and making calls on the go. For those with a busy lifestyle, the ZTE Grand Memo will be indispensable.”

The Grand Memo launch came at the same time ZTE revealed another gadget, this time targeted at an entirely different market.

Launching with Telefonica, the ZTE Open Firefox OS will be available in Spain, Venezuela and Columbia from the middle of this year.

It is very much aimed at those who already have a phone, but want to make the move to a smartphone, albeit with a limited amount of money to spend.

Very different to the Grand Memo, it has a screen size two inches smaller and it is powered by just 256MB of RAM. The camera is also low spec, at 3.5 megapixels.

Brendan Eich, co-founder and CTO of Mozilla, said the two companies had worked closely together to develop the smartphone. He added that the new handset would give “users more choice and more options that reflect their lifestyle.”