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ZTE Readies Mimosa X Smartphone With ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’

China’s ZTE is aiming its low-cost Mimosa X handset at the mainstream mobile phone market

China’s ZTE said on 20 February that it has teamed with application processor maker Nvidia on the ZTE Mimosa X smartphone, which will launch with Google’s Android 3.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system in the second quarter this year.

The Mimosa X has a 4.3-inch qHD (Quarter High Definition) screen with a 960-by-540 resolution, a fairly common display technology among high-end Motorola handsets. There are also 5 megapixel rear- and front-facing cameras.

New processor

However, what makes the phone unique in that it’s the first handset powered both by Nvidia’s Tegra 2 dual-core application CPU, which powers several Android handsets and tablets, and the chipmaker’s Icera 450 HSPA+ modem, which includes the baseband and RF processors.

This chipset controls the radio functions in the wireless phone, offering high throughput while consuming little power, an important characteristic in today’s data-chomping smartphones.

However, ZTE promises this device won’t skimp on performance, providing solid gaming and multimedia qualities, such as HD video recording and playback, advanced audio distribution profile (A2DP), Dolby sound, dual microphones, and a built-in gyroscope.

The Mimosa X, which has 4GB of storage, expandable to 32GB via microSD, is also a break from Nvidia’s previous practice of powering high-end devices.

A larger piece of the pie

ZTE did not specify pricing or delivery date for the Mimosa X. However, Michael Rayfield, general manager of Nvidia’s mobile business,told AllThingsDigital the Mimosa X would be priced in the sub-$200 (£125) range, without a subsidy. This makes sense given ZTE’s tendency to sell low-cost phones in China.

ZTE is angling to cut a deeper piece of the large, juicy global smartphone market pie, which is dominated by Apple’s iPhone, as well as smartphones from Samsung, HTC and Motorola Mobility. To do that, it will have to compete not only on price, but quality and functionality.

This co-branding with ZTE also marks a big step forward for Nvidia, which acquired Icera for $367 million in cash last June to provide a more complete mobile platform for its OEM partners.