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ZTE Hopes MiFavor Will Find Favor in US

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2012 -- ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) is looking to the U.S. wireless operators to help it achieve top five status for handset makers in North America this year. The Chinese vendor introduced an ambitious line of eight new high-end handsets and four new tablets (all the news here), some of which will be headed to the States. It also unveiled Mifavor, its own customized user interface (UI) for Android that it hopes will entice wireless operators to sell its phones. (See ZTE to Show New Devices at MWC.)

Fan Jiongyi, VP of terminals for Europe, said MiFavor is meant to establish a unique UI that emphasizes ZTE's core apps, as well as its partners' apps. Among the first is a "Touch and Share" Near-Field Communications (NFC) app for mobile data exchange.

"[This is a] unique user experience, which is different from the Android standard UI, and we think it can facilitate the end-user experience," he said. A brief video of the UI showed it running on what appears to be Android's Gingerbread OS.
ZTE Mifavor Android UI video por TechGear

Why this matters
Despite the fragmentation issues they bring up, custom UIs are important to Android smartphone makers as they help them differentiate their offerings. For ZTE, a unique experience may also be important for it to attract wireless operators to sell its phones, which will be crucial for the new face to compete in the U.S.

Jiongyi said that ZTE has been recognized by the wireless operators as the "best partner for the customization of terminals," and he expects them to embrace the new UI as well. The handset maker's EVP He Shiyou added that he's confident 2012 will be the "era of ZTE." "Of course, there are bigger vendors, but we have them in our sight, and we continue to take market share from them," Shiyou said.

For more
Read up on ZTE's mobile ambitions.



— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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