ZTE, one of the two major Chinese handset vendors, the other being Huawei, is well known for making budget Android phones. The “Blade”, which first launched in September 2010 in the UK as the “Orange San Francisco“, proved to be a smash hit because it offered people the full Android experience for less than 100 British pounds. About a year later the “Blade II” came out, offering a faster processor and a newer version (2.3 Gingerbread) of Android. Now as far as we know ZTE has yet to annonce the “Blade III”, which is why this writer was a bit shocked to see it on his local electronics dealer’s website. Assuming the specifications are correct, it’s basically the “Blade II”, but with a cleaner design, Android 4.0 on-board, and luckily the same budget price. Some quick Googling reveals that sites in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark list the “Blade III” as having a 4 inch screen, which goes against the claimed 3.5 inches on the Finnish website. It should also be noted that the Finnish website lists Samsung as the manufacturer of the “Blade III”, so believe who you want to believe.
All we know is that the midrange market, defined as handsets costing less than 200 Euros (roughly 160 British pounds), is where we’re going to see a ton of action over the coming years. Smartphones started out as being devices for people with money to spare. Now, thanks to companies like ZTE, they’re as cheap as feature phones. Will there ever be a day when feature phones simply stop existing? It’s inevitable at this point, and if we had to guess we’d say it’ll happen by the close of this decade.