ZTE To Release "iPhone 4S" Rival In US

Chinese telecoms giant ZTE has confirmed that it will be launching a high-end smartphone in the US "in the middle of next year". Lixin Cheng, who heads the North American division of the company, told Yun-Hee Kim of the Wall Street Journal that the firm wants to move away from low cost gear and go head-to-head with the likes of Apple, Samsung, HTC and Nokia.

Cheng said in an interview that he expects the US will be its biggest market for handsets by 2015, although he did not specify whether he was referring to total value or by units shipped or sold.

ZTE will also be launching at least one 4G/LTE handset with Android or Windows Phone being the chosen platform, like many of its rivals.

The ZTE executive added, "with a similar feature set [as the iPhone], ZTE can offer an alternative", presumably referring to the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5. Historically, ZTE has sold both feature phones and smartphones to the UK market via mobile network operators such as T-Mobile and 3 Mobile.

Indeed, 3 Mobile has been the only one which sold handsets labelled ZTE, while others sold them as rebadged handsets, which didn't prevent them from selling quite well.

The ZTE Blade, which is also known as the Orange San Francisco, has sold more than two million units worldwide, and was the first mainstream handset in the UK to offer a 3.5-inch WVGA AMOLED screen for under £100.