Is the ZTE Grand X the start of a stock Android revolution?
ZTE, one of China’s biggest mobile manufacturers, has unveiled the Grand X (formerly known as the Mimosa X), a dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 smartphone, with a 960×540 qHD resolution for a 4.3″ display, a 5MP camera with auto-focus and flash, VGA front facing camera, and 4GB of internal storage, which can be expanded to another 32GB with a microSD card.
While this sounds more like an early 2011 flagship, it does have one killer feature that not many smartphones have these days – it comes with stock Android 4.0. Since so many manufacturers have skinned their Android implementations, at this point, having stock Android really is a big differentiating feature, especially for people who actually know what an Android phone is.
But the market for the ZTE Grand X could easily expand beyond those types of users, if those users recommend this phone to their friends, which is usually the case. Manufacturers will never give up skinning Android as long as people buy them the way they are, instead of choosing stock Android devices. If there is an increasing demand for stock Android, manufacturers might start changing their minds, and at least offer some good smartphone options that run stock Android. They don’t necessarily have to roll out stock Android across all their whole lineup, although obviously that would be great for us.
ZTE is the first manufacturer to do this in recent times, and I’m hoping other manufacturers will start taking notice, and do the same soon. The fact that the Galaxy Nexus has dropped to just $350, and that there may be at least five Android 5.0 devices launching this fall, gives me hope that a trend will start where both consumers and manufacturers will want more stock Android devices.
The ZTE Grand X may not be the very best phone on the market, but it seems like it will launch at a very reasonable £189.99 in UK on Virgin Media and Phones 4U, starting in August. You could also get it for free with a two year contract for £24 if you’re a new Virgin Media customer, for or £19 if you’re an existing customer.
In US, it will probably cost around $250, unlocked, so around $100 cheaper than Galaxy Nexus. That doesn’t necessarily mean the ZTE Grand X will get updates just as fast or just as many as the Galaxy Nexus, though. It all depends on ZTE, and it would be nice if they offered an upgrade schedule for it.