ZTE Grand S Release Date In U.S. Put On Hold Until 2014

By Alexandra Burlacu | May 25, 2013 11:55 AM EDT

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The ZTE Grand S flagship smartphone will apparently take its time reaching stateside, as it will not arrive until 2014.

ZTE's new Grand S was one of the most impressive smartphones featured at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) back in January, where the company put it on display and offered a full set of specs. At the time, the company said the smartphone will start shipping during the first quarter and reach the U.S. sometime later in the year.

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Now, however, ZTE North American division chief Lixin Cheng tells CNET that the handset will not arrive in the U.S. until next year. Cheng said the delay was due to the fact that ZTE needs more time to meet the requirements of its wireless carrier customers.

Cheng also noted that the company will not be selling a year-old smartphone once it hits U.S. shores, but the device will likely be a handset in the "Grand S family."

"The Grand S will evolve," Cheng assured CNET.

The current ZTE Grand S spots a 5-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor clocked at 1.7GHz, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2,500 mAh battery and Android Jelly Bean on board.

This delay in launching the ZTE Grand S in the U.S. further highlights the difficulties the company faces in terms of breaking through in the American market. ZTE made some notable progress in the prepaid market for lower-cost phones and is now No. 3 prepaid vendor, but it failed to reach the same success with national carriers.

At the recent CTIA, meanwhile, ZTE had a modest presence with a sponsored escalator. Cheng discussed the progress ZTE made in the U.S. market and noted that as the third-largest provider of prepaid phones in the U.S. it saw an impressive 85.7 percent year-over-year growth in the first quarter.

Despite its success as a vendor of prepaid phones, however, ZTE is still little known in the U.S., which may be part of the reason for the difficulties it now faces in bringing its ZTE Grand S smartphone out in the U.S. market with a carrier partner. Cheng further mentioned that the ZTE Grand Memo "phablet," which made its debut back in February at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), would arrive later this year.

ZTE also plans to invest in launching more products and remains dedicated to its efforts for "affordable premium" products, added Cheng. While in the past ZTE preferred to focus its resources on products rather than on marketing its brand, Cheng said that this year the company will increase funds allocated for promoting the brand. The company also plans to expand the products it will offer in the U.S.

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