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.
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.
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.
ZTE has invested over $300 million in 5G technology
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!