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Just a few days ago, we were discussing how ZTE might be the one to start the “stock Android revolution“, with their upcoming Grand X flagship, which will arrive with stock Android 4.0. ZTE is trying hard to become a stock Android manufacturer, and they’ve been working with Google to bring out stock Android devices faster into the market. According to Kan Yulun, VP and CTO of ZTE’s handset division:

“ZTE has an excellent relationship with Google and this, combined with our extensive R&D capabilities and our experience of customising devices for partners around the world, means we are able to bring new technologies to market very quickly”,

One of the results of this close relationship is the ZTE N880E smartphone, which was launched in China in May with Android 2.3, but is now jumping straight to Android 4.1.

This will make the ZTE N880E the first smartphone to run Android 4.1 in China, and (to our knowledge) the first non-Nexus device to run Jelly Bean. How is this possible, you may wonder? My guess is ZTE was one of the limited number of partners that received the PDK beta, before Google even announced Jelly Bean to the public.

The ZTE N880E looks like a mid-range phone in terms of specs, but the Jelly Bean upgrade should make it run smoother than ever before, and it’s the reason why I’m excited for Jelly Bean to arrive even on lower-end smartphones.

The full list of specs of the ZTE N880E includes:

  • Size: 119mm x 61mm x 10.4mm
  • Screen: 4.0-inch, WVGA, 480 x 800 TFT, capacitive touchscreen
  • Weight: 130g
  • Battery: Li-ion 1650mAh
  • Standard: CDMA2000 1x, EVDO Rev.A, 800MHz
  • OS: Android 4.1.1
  • Platform: Qualcomm 7627A
  • Frequency: 1GHz
  • Memory: 4GB (storage) + 512MB (RAM)
  • Extended memory: MicroSD (max. support 32G)
  • Camera: 3.2MP AF
  • Bluetooth: 2.1, A2DP, AVRCP
  • WLAN: 802.11 b/g/n
  • Other: GPS, GMS, FM, A-GPS

It’s nice to see that Google is working so closely with manufacturers to bring out upgrades faster, but ZTE wasn’t the only one in the limited beta program for the PDK. We’ve heard rumors that Samsung may upgrade the Galaxy S3 to Jelly Bean as soon as this August, and of course we know HTC is preparing to upgrade their One series smartphones to Jelly Bean very soon as well, so they must’ve been included in the limited beta as well.

This is great news all around for the Android ecosystem. Not only some smartphone manufacturers are starting to switch to the Google Experience version of Android, but the PDK is helping them upgrade to the latest version of Android much faster than before.

Hopefully, this also means that Android manufacturers will support their devices with upgrades for a lot longer than a year, and that they will upgrade more of their models as well.

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