Mobile World Congress 2016

China’s ZTE unveils new Blade V7 smartphones at Mobile World Congress, teams up with Spanish football club Sevilla

Company targets sales of up to 70 million handsets in 2016, reveals new sports marketing partnership and smart projector Spro Plus

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 February, 2016, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 February, 2016, 6:30pm

China’s ZTE, the world’s sixth largest smartphone maker, is introducing new value-priced phone models and aims to sell between 60 million and 70 million devices overall this year, an executive said on Monday.

Waiman Lam, ZTE’s senior director of mobile devices, said in an interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the company is cautiously targeting growth of around 60 million units, which would mark a 7 per cent rise in unit sales from 2015.

The higher end of its target range, 70 million units, would represent around 20 per cent growth over 2015.

“We’re proud to show off the Blade V7 and Blade V7 Lite to the world, and we’re starting here in Barcelona,” said Jacky Zhang, CEO of EMEA and APAC, ZTE Mobile Devices.

READ MORE: Samsung enlists Facebook’s Zuckerberg at unveiling of Galaxy S7, LG shows off modular G5 on eve of Mobile World Congress

“We know how important smartphones are to our daily lives, especially for capturing those significant moments. Hence, we’ve designed the Blade V7 and Blade V7 Lite with that in mind,” he said.

“These devices are just the latest milestones in how ZTE will bring imagination and beyond to ignite our users’ mobile lives.”

The Blade V7 is slim and sleek: its full-metal, ergonomic body is only 3.5mm thick at its thinnest edge, sporting a 5.2-inch screen perfect for single-hand use. Its 78.2-percent screen-to-body ratio and 2.5D curved edge glass offers a stunning handful of fun.

READ MORE: From a familiar-sounding Galaxy not so far away to Xiaomi’s Mi 5 - fleet of flagship phones to dock at Mobile World Congress

The model packs a punch with strong core components and features: powerful octa-core chipsets, 4G LTE plus, 2GB of RAM for ultra-fast entertainment, powerful front and rear PDAF 13-megapixel cameras, and expanded Smart Sense intelligent gesture control features.

Instead of fingerprint security, it offers ZTE’s retinal eye-scan feature and goes on sale in summer. It will be available in Germany, Spain, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Mexico by mid-year.

READ MORE: ‘More evolution than revolution’ - move over, smartphones, IoT tipped to be the big dog at next week’s Mobile World Congress

Meanwhile, the Blade V7 Lite offers a 5-inch screen that can be operated with one hand and a fingerprint scanner for users to sign on to the phone. It will initially be sold in Russia and in coming months in markets including Mexico, Spain, Germany and Thailand.

By the end of 2015, more than 30 million Blade phones were shipped in over 50 countries.

ZTE has not disclosed how much the new models will cost, but Lam told Reuters that the larger V7 will sell for around US$280 and the Lite for under US$220, or even as low as US$165.

The company also introduced the newest addition to its smart projector product line, the Spro Plus - a versatile device that can also serve as a smartphone, an 8.4-inch tablet and a 12,100mAh mobile battery capable of recharging seven iPhone 6s on a single charge.

It can project images filling an 80-inch surface at a distance of up to 2.4 meters. It is bright enough to be used during daylight hours and can last for four hours when fully charged. Audio is provided courtesy of speakers developed by US company JBL, the company said.

As well as showcasing these new devices, ZTE unveiled a new sports marketing partnership with Spanish football club Seville, taking a page from a strategy that has turned ZTE into the 4th largest US smartphone vendor.

ZTE sponsors five professional basketball teams, including the Golden State Warriors, last year’s NBA champions, as well as pro golfer Danny Lee, which has driven its US brand recognition.