If you are looking for more low-priced Android smartphone options, add Chinese handset maker ZTE to your shopping list.
Together with Polaris, the brand's local distributor and retailer, ZTE has launched three handsets, which run the latest Android 4.4 KitKat operating system and have prices starting at $99, in Singapore.
The $99 KIS 3 is a dual-SIM phone with a 4-inch screen and 2-megapixel rear camera;
The $169 Blade L2 is a 5-inch dual-SIM device with a 5-megapixel camera. More than 10 million have been sold globally and this is one of the company's bestsellers;
and ZTE's current flagship, the $299 Blade VEC 4G, has a high-definition screen and an 8-megapixel camera.
The Blade L2 is available from online retailer Lazada. The others will be available from Lazada and SingTel.
ZTE Corporation is the latest handset company from China to bring in low-cost smartphones here, following Oppo, Xiaomi and Huawei.
ZTE's vice-president (mobile devices) Zhang Lei recognises that competition will be tough, especially with the likes of Xiaomi selling out its phones each time it launches an online sale.
ZTE, he said, is not competing only on price, it has an edge in design and hardware innovations.
"Singapore is one of the most connected cities in Asia and we want to use this market to extend our influence in Asia," he said.
Moreover, he said, ZTE devices do not collect personal data from handsets. He was referring to Xiaomi, which has had to apologise to users after a security company discovered that its phones were collecting users' data without their permission.
ZTE will also partner Polaris to market handsets in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, among other countries in Asia.
The Chinese company also makes handsets running Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system, as well as the ZTE Open, a phone powered by the new Firefox OS for mobile phones. Both ZTE and Polaris would only say that they were looking at bringing those devices in, but could not give a more definitive answer.
Polaris chief executive Peter Ang said his company is keen to bring in devices that run on other operating systems, but any decision to do so will depend on consumer feedback.
This article was published on Aug 20 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.
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