ZTE says it’s ready to take on LG in America, knocks Xiaomi’s international ambitions

ZTE Concord 2 Top Macro
ZTE has big plans for the U.S., and doesn’t want any competition from the likes of Xiaomi, one of this year’s most talked-about Chinese smartphone brands. According to Lixin Cheng, CEO of ZTE’s U.S. operations, the target has been set to double previous sales this year, then pass LG’s total market share to take the U.S. number three spot within two years.

Currently, ZTE’s position in the market is confused. It says it’s the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in the U.S., but that may depend on who is publishing the figures. For example, ComScore data from July didn’t put ZTE in the top five, but did place the resurgent LG in third. In China, ZTE may also be having a tough time, with reports suggesting it has fallen out of the top five manufacturers, against increased competition from both local and international companies.

Cheng says ZTE sold 10 million smartphones in the U.S. during 2013, and is aiming for 20 million this year. To help achieve this, ZTE has announced a variety of competitively priced devices, including the cool, $280 Nubia 5S Mini, and the timely, $250, 5.7-inch ZMax. Earlier this year, ZTE said it would increase its marketing budget in the U.S. to $120 million, and signed a high-profile sponsorship deal with the Houston Rockets basketball team at the end of 2013.

What ZTE doesn’t want is Xiaomi muscling in to ruin its grand plan, and set out a stark warning to the growing company. Cheng says Xiaomi’s preferred method of selling unconnected phones online won’t work in the U.S., where 95 percent of sales are made via a network, and hardware is usually a collaborative effort. He says it took ZTE more than a decade to gain a foothold in America, and gaining the trust of networks is an essential part of the process. Xiaomi will have to change if it’s to stand a chance, hints Cheng.

This doesn’t mean ZTE is blind to Xiaomi’s success, and is also building up its own online sales channels, from opening an Amazon-based official store tailored to U.S. buyers, to pushing a dedicated online store in a similar style to Huawei’s VMall.com.

ZTE’s ethos of producing affordable, but premium smartphones may not always work, but the new ZMax costs a third of the iPhone 6 Plus, and has therefore come at the right time to win it fans. Will it be enough to give ZTE the boost it clearly desires?

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

From Android 1.0 to Android 9.0, here’s how Google’s OS evolved over a decade

It's hard to believe, but Android has been around for almost a decade now. From Android 1.0 to Android 9.0 Pie, here's the history of Android and the changes that came with each new software iteration.
Photography

Here's a few tips to getting the best camera gear on Prime Day

Not all sales on cameras, lenses, and other gear is worth it. But, if you do your research and shop wisely, you might just be able to snag a camera, lens, or accessory you've been hoping to pick up.
Mobile

Samsung exec confirms upcoming Galaxy S10 will sport 'very significant changes'

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Find out how Apple's new iPhones measure up to the most bezel-less designs

As the smartphone industry marches toward a bezel-less future, we compare the shrinking bezels on the latest and greatest devices. Find out which manufacturers have the smallest bezels on their smartphone as we measure them side by side.
Business

How T-Mobile plans to use 5G to challenge traditional ISPs

In a recent FCC statement, T-Mobile COO Michael Sievert outlined the company's plans to use 5G to challenge traditional ISPs such as Comcast and Charter. The company says it would offer lower rates and higher speeds.
Wearables

Armani Exchange’s smartwatch is for those who want their tech to be dapper

Armani is back with another Google Wear OS touchscreen smartwatch, and this time it's from the Armani Exchange division, making it stylish, modern, and affordable. There's plenty of technology inside too.
Mobile

The best iPhone XR screen protectors to keep that big screen safe

The iPhone XR is Apple's midsized iPhone, and it's worth protecting. You might have picked up a case, but what about the screen? Keep your display safe with the best iPhone XR screen protectors.
Mobile

Never run out of data (or money) with the best unlimited data plans of 2018

Sorting though unlimited plans isn't exactly a walk in the park. We've compared the best unlimited data plans from Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon to help you decide which one is best for you.
Mobile

The iPhone XS and XS Max survive being dunked in 138 cans of beer

Apple's special event is over, and we were introduced to the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Here's everything we know about the 2018 iPhone trio, from their cameras to release dates.
Mobile

Apple iPhone XS vs. Sony Xperia XZ3: Which is the best phone for you?

What happens when one of Apple's best clashes with one of Sony's top performers? We're here to find out as we pit the iPhone XS against the Xperia XZ3 in various categories. Find out which of these smartphones will suit you best.
Mobile

MetroPCS is now Metro by T-Mobile and includes Amazon Prime

Looking for a great prepaid phone plan? MetroPCS is now Metro by T-Mobile, and the veteran carrier is promising to provide a variety of prepaid phone plans that offer great value for money, and access to Google One and Amazon Prime.
Mobile

Apple purchases Shazam and makes the app free of ads

Soon after Apple announced it was acquiring music-recognition service Shazam, it was revealed that the European Commission would be looking into the deal. The commission has now cleared the way for Apple's acquisition of Shazam.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.