ZTE adds Intel to its friend list, reveals plans to launch Clover Trail+ smartphone

ZTE Logo DT MWC 2013

Following what it has described as the beginnings of a successful partnership, ZTE has announced it will be joining forces with Intel for more smartphone projects in the near future. ZTE’s first Intel powered phone, the Grand X IN, was released at the end of August last year and was a relatively modest phone, boasting the Z2460 Medfield processor, a 4.3-inch screen and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as its OS. More devices, it seems, are coming.

ZTE has now issued a press release saying it’s working with Intel to, “Develop unique smartphones,” incorporating the Atom Z2580 processor. The Z2580 is the successor to the Z2460 Medfield, and is better known by its Clover Trail+ codename. Introduced at Mobile World Congress, the Clover Trail+ is a dual-core chip with a potential maximum clock speed of 2GHz, with the ability to run screens with a Full HD resolution. It also comes complete with more powerful PowerVR graphics, which Intel says provides three times the 3D performance of the Medfield.

As with many of ZTE’s smartphones, the Grand X IN has only had a limited international rollout, so far through parts of Europe, with France next on the list. ZTE claims the phone has been particularly successful in Austria, and has been instrumental in increasing awareness of the brand. While the Grand X IN is a distinctly mid-range Android phone, any device with the Clover Trail+ inside will probably be far more impressive, using the faster processor and lower power consumption as key selling points.

Intel isn’t the only new processor partner ZTE has been cozying up to recently. It’s also working with Nvidia, and will be the first manufacturer to produce a smartphone with the new Tegra 4 chip inside. Sadly though, ZTE’s Tegra 4-powered hardware is only destined for China when it’s released, and given Intel’s preference for emerging markets, we’d say the first Clover Trail+ device will also have a similarly restricted launch.

With friends like these falling over themselves to partner up, companies such as Sony will need more than cheap phones running Firefox OS to fend off ZTE’s quest for an ever-larger slice of the international smartphone market.

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