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ZTE to debut the Grand Memo and a Firefox phone at MWC, could be joined by a Tegra 4-powered surprise

ZTE Android LogoZTE has confirmed in a tweet it will not only be launching a device named the Grand Memo at Mobile World Congress, but also one of the first phones to use Mozilla’s Firefox OS. The message in question featured several hashtags, something of which ZTE is demonstrably fond, but it was #ZTEGrandMemo and #ZTEMozilla which caught our eye. We’ve heard about the ZTE Grand Memo before, as the device was leaked in mid-January, when it appeared with a basic specification including a 5.7-inch screen and a quad-core processor. Subsequently, it received a soft-launch in Hong Kong, where it came with a 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, a 13-megapixel camera and Android 4.1.2.

So, we know ZTE has the Grand Memo all ready to go for MWC, but what about the Mozilla phone? ZTE has already spoken out about its intention to release a phone using Mozilla’s Firefox OS this year, and is according to ZTE’s CEO, already romancing several European networks to persuade them to carry the new device. Separately, Mozilla has said it intends to reveal the first pieces of hardware to run Firefox OS during Mobile World Congress. If you want a clue as to the specs of ZTE’s Firefox effort, look no further than the Keon and Peak developer phones.ZTE Grand Memo Tweet

While the Grand Memo and Mozilla phones appear to be locked for the show, there’s a chance we’ll also see a phone using the Nvidia Tegra 4, as the chip manufacturer has said ZTE will be the first company to introduce a device powered by its latest processor. There are several possible scenarios here. ZTE could demo its Tegra 4 phone at the show, wait until later in the year or even swap the Grand Memo’s Snapdragon S4 for Nvidia’s chip.

Introduced at CES 2013, the Tegra 4 is stuffed with a quad-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU and a 72-core Nvidia GPU, and it’s this chip ZTE will use in its next phone, rather than the newly introduced Tegra 4i. ZTE will also integrate Nvidia’s new i500 modem to give the device 4G LTE connectivity. Nvidia boasted the Tegra 4 is the, “World’s fastest mobile processor” during its press conference at CES, which should see us quivering with excitement; except as it has paired up with ZTE, everyone outside of China is going to be in for a long wait before getting the chance to play with it.

ZTE’s first Tegra 4 powered device will launch in China during the first half of this year, with no mention of a release outside of the country at this stage. It’s not a surprise, as it’s the same strategy the firm has taken with the Grand S. Announced at CES, the Grand S will go on sale in China soon, but we’re still waiting on news the 5-inch, 1080p smartphone/tablet hybrid will come to the U.S. and Europe. 

Mobile World Congress opens its doors on Monday, February 25, and ZTE is holding a press conference late on that very day. We’ll be there to bring you all the news.

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Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Firefox OS is a go, as $90 ZTE Open launches in Spain

We all knew the time was coming, but today has seen a flurry of activity surrounding Firefox OS, Mozilla’s bold move into the world of smartphone operating systems. A tweet from Mozilla’s official Firefox account this morning said, “Firefox OS arrives this month in selected markets. Celebrate the first smartphone powered completely by Web technologies.” Subsequently, a tweet from Telefonica Digital brought good news to the people of Spain, as it confirmed the ZTE Open would be the world’s first Firefox phone to go on commercial sale, and it would do so there on July 2.
One of the primary attractions of Firefox OS phones was always going to be the price, and sure enough, the ZTE Open is a bargain. The phone will cost just 70 euros (which is about $90) as a Pay As You Go device, and the deal includes 30 euros of call credit plus a 4GB microSD card. If anyone is keen enough to sign up for a two-year contract, the Open will cost a touch over two euros, or $3, each month.
Of course, at this price, you won’t be surprised to learn the ZTE Open can’t match the Galaxy S4 in terms of specification. What you get is a 3.5-inch screen with a 480 x 320 pixel resolution, a 1GHz single-core Snapdragon processor, 256MB of RAM, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and 512MB of internal storage. The Open was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February, alongside the similarly basic Alcatel One Touch Fire, and although it wasn’t the most exciting phone we saw at the show; it always attracted a crowd.
Following the Open’s debut in Spain, Telefonica will launch the phone in other markets - it mentions Columbia and Venezuela specifically - in the coming weeks, while Mozilla’s press release also says Norwegian network Telenor will be releasing Firefox phones in Central and Eastern Europe this year. A check of its website sees Norway, Serbia, Montenegro, and Hungary set for the second half of 2013.
Firefox OS is one of several new smartphone operating systems set to hit the shops this year, and is soon to be joined by Jolla, Tizen, and Ubuntu Phone.

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Nvidia’s Tegra 4i reference phone spotted, could be on sale early next year

Component manufacturers often build phones to show off what their products can do to help drive sales. These devices, sometimes known as reference phones, have appeared in the past, most notably in Intel’s case, as its first Medfield reference phone went on to become the Orange San Diego and the Lava Xolo X900.
When Nvidia first announced the Tegra 4i processor, it also discussed a reference phone codename Phoenix, which has a 5-inch, 1080p screen all wrapped up in an 8mm thick chassis. It was shown off at Mobile World Congress, where Nvidia confirmed it was looking to sign up manufacturing partners to use the Phoenix design. Now, a second Nvidia reference phone has been spotted, and Nvidia has similarly ambitious plans for it.
It has been seen by, but it doesn’t have a cool codename, and instead wears “Brand” branding, so is clearly being used to entice manufacturers into licensing the device. It’s not as high-end as the Phoenix either, as it has a 4.8-inch touchscreen with a 720p resolution, but the Tegra 4i chip is inside and has 1GB of RAM, plus 4G LTE and HSPA+ connectivity. The chassis measures 7.9mm thick, and there is an 8-megapixel camera mounted in the top left of the device’s rear panel.
Nvidia apparently wants to get this unbranded model, along with the Phoenix, on sale during the first three months of next year. According to the report, it will be priced at around $300 to $400 without a contract, and Nvidia is also preparing an even cheaper, $200 device too.
The Tegra 4 hasn’t been seen in any smartphones yet, although we’re expecting something from ZTE in the near future, but it has recently appeared in several tablets, including those from Toshiba, and the new Asus Transformer Pad Infinity. With three reference phones now doing the rounds, it seems Nvidia is being proactive in speeding up the Tegra 4 and Tegra 4i’s adoption by phone manufacturers.

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ZTE shows off Firefox OS and Open phone at MWC 2013
firefox os reintroduced by zte as company shows off open handset firefoxos

In perhaps the most anti-climatic announcement of the day, ZTE took time during its Mobile World Congress 2013 presentation to unveil the ZTE Open phone and Firefox OS –both of which were introduced the previous day by Mozilla. ZTE did do it's best to add it's own take on the partnership, of course.
Firefox OS will be a large part of ZTE's push to become one of the top three brands in mobile by 2015. The first phone from the Chinese manufacturer to run the new operating system is the ZTE Open, which will launch worldwide over the course of the year – beginning with Columbia, Spain, and Venezuela in the summer.
We usually take a good look at the spec sheet of a phone when its announced, but that's not the point with Firefox OS – it's designed to run well on low-end phones (and in comparison to most smartphones on the market, the ZTE Open would definitely be considered low-end). Running on a 1GHz processor and 256MB of RAM, it features a 3.5-inch multitouch, HVGA display. Internal storage clocks in at 512MB. The Open also features GPS and a 3.2-megapixel camera. Not anything particularly impressive until you consider the market the phone is meant for.
Ying Xue of Telefonica, one of ZTE's partners, stated the goal of the Open is to convert feature phone users. Telefonica's director of devices Carlos Fernandez Casares added the idea that smartphone penetration rates are rather low and there's tons of room for growth, noting Latin America's rate of smartphone penetration is just 18 percent. By comparison, the U.S. is well over 50 precent. The ZTE Open is essentially the exact opposite of the high-end Grand Memo that was also announced during the conference. That phone is meant for high-end consumers with previous smartphone experience. The Open is meant to make that initial transition from "dumbphone" to smartphone easier.

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