Feb 20 AT 8:30 PM Taylor Wimberly 28 Comments

ZTE unveils first smartphone with NVIDIA’s Icera modem, Tegra goes mainstream

zte-mimosa-x

When most think of a mainstream or entry-level smartphone, we picture some cheap junk with a small low-res screen, crappy camera, and an outdated version of Android.

Now imagine a smartphone running Android 4.0 with a 4.3 inch qHD display, 5 MP rear camera + VGA front camera, and a dual-core Tegra 2 processor. Obviously the specs don’t match up with the upcoming high-end devices, but what if I told you such a phone could be purchased for around $150, without a contract.

Today Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE announced the Mimosa X. It features all the specs mentioned above along with NVIDIA’s Icera 450 HSPA+ modem. NVIDIA just acquired Icera last year and this is the first Android device to feature their technology.

“The ZTE Mimosa X is exciting for a few reasons,” said Michael Rayfield, General Manager of the Mobile business at NVIDIA. “The Mimosa X marks the first time NVIDIA technology powers all the major processors in a single smartphone, and also the first time a premium mobile computing experience is coming to the mainstream smartphone market.”

ZTE said the Mimosa X will launch around Q2, but no carrier partners were announced. The final price still remains a mystery, but NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang hinted at it during a recent earnings call. When asked about growth opportunities for 2012, Jen-Hsun mentioned that Tegra 2 was a good fit for mainstream phones.

Jen-Husn said, “The third growth opportunity is the 999 or what some people call 1000RMB phone. And this is an affordable, very affordable smartphone with dual-core capability and the way that they describe it, the way the marketplace internalized it is it’s a phone that has the capability of an iPhone 4 but is extremely affordable.”

The “1000RMB” term stands for 1000 Chinese Yuan, which is around $159 with the current conversion rates.

In today’s pre-paid market it is possible to find Android phones priced below $199, but I wouldn’t recommend them to any of my friends. If ZTE can deliver the Mimosa X at that sub-$199 price range off contract, then I think we will see them move a lot of units. Heck at that price, we could see it on one of the big carriers for free on contract.

Overall, the Mimosa X looks like a solid effort from ZTE. Hopefully more details will be revealed next week at Mobile World Congress. ZTE just showed off a Tegra 3 tablet at CES, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they also unveil a Tegra 3 smartphone.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • ericl5112

    Very cool for some markets. I don’t think that market is the US however.

    Even free on contract is nothing new a phone like this. The Atrix was basically free on contract after a few months, and this phone seems pretty equivalent. However, the off contract price is much better than the $400 for the Atrix.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      The Atrix was always with an AT&T contract at those prices. A device with similar specs on MetroPCS, Cricket, or Straight Talk would be a different story.

      LG sold millions of pre-paid Android phones last year around that $150-199 price.

      • jonathan3579

        That battery looks like Gingerbread to me.

      • ericl5112

        I said the off contract price is much better than the Atrix and the like, which is where this phone will excel, right there in my post. Just saying on contract prices of “free” is not at all special.

    • Jeff Pan

      This phone makes sense to smaller carriers like Metro PCS.

    • Matthew H

      You are wrong about the demand for a low price non-contract phone. I currently have a Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V, purchased $150 off contract. I am looking for a better off-contract phone, and the $300 Motoroloa Triumph is not enough of an improvement to warrant $300. If this ZTE phone comes to any non-contract player in the US, and its build quality is equivalent to the LG Optimus, I will be buying it.

      I have a non-contract phone because I make a lot of calls for my consulting, and need unlimited calling. Unlimited calling on the big players is way too much money, over $100 a month. With Virgin or Simple Mobile, it is $40-55/month, with internet. I am on Wifi all day, so I don’t use much data except when traveling. I can afford a top notch phone on a national carrier, I just don’t want to pay that kind of money just to get the latest and greatest. Same goes for importing a Galaxy Nexsus on Simple Mobile. I don’t want to pay $620 retail for my phone, with no support because I imported it from abroad.

      Please bring this phone to the US, with Sprint or T-mobile bands, so I can use Boost, Virgin or Simple Mobile with it. I want an inexpensive dual core and better screen phone for under $200.

      • ericl5112

        There is some demand, yes. It is tiny however, in the grand scheme of things. Tiny markets aren’t what they generally go for. This will likely do much better in areas where contracts do not rule, as is the case in the US. I would bet something like 80%+ of smartphone users in US are on contract.

  • AsakuraZero

    this is what you call promising, and the price is believable because the asus memo its marked at 250 with a tegra 3 chip, so yeah, lets see what happens on the future

  • http://www.openintro.com OpenIntro

    Pretty sexy clock widget. Must have!

    • kazahani

      Fancy Widget ftw!

  • sunrise

    No US carrier will allow this phone. A phone with those specs, which in my opinion are pretty good, for only 199 WITHOUT a contract would open the gate for carriers to lose their hold on price fixing.

    The only reason phones cost 700 off contract is because of the carriers and their contracts. Without them the free open market would work, competition would be at play, and high end phones including Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S would be 300 off contract.

    Affordable mainstream non-contract phones are a carriers worst nightmare, and since the carrier and manufacturers are in a joint price fixing scheme, we will never see something like this in the states.

    • jonathan3579

      But nothing stops those who truly want from acquiring. :)

    • anamika

      “The only reason phones cost 700 off contract is because of the carriers and their contracts” – I doubt it.
      Without carriers contracts iPhone4s costs around $800, Galaxy S2 around $600 in India.

    • spazby

      Agreed re: US carriers not allowing this type of phone…

  • EspadaA

    To me it’s just ugly want a really nice phone. With ICS on it since I can’t get the nexus.

  • YNWA

    Hopefully this will be the start of a new generation of phones with better/bigger screens and decent specs for the pre-paid market. Right now the carriers want there to be a big gap between pre-paid and post-paid. This could change all that.

    Go Android! Tons of choice and options to spur competition.

  • Raptor

    Google search “ZTE unveils first smartphone with NVIDIA”
    Page 103 of about 1,120 results

    ZTE unveils first smartphone with NVIDIA’s Icera modem, Tegra goes mainstream – 2 hours ago
    ZTE and Nvidia Unveil The Mimosa X — First Smartphone With Nvidia’s Icera Modem Inside – 2 hours ago
    ZTE unveils first smartphone with NVIDIA’s Icera modem, Tegra goes mainstream – 2 hours ago
    ZTE and Nvidia Unveil The Mimosa X — First Smartphone With Nvidia’s Icera Modem Inside – 2 hours ago
    ZTE Mimosa X with NVIDIA Icera modem now official – 2 hours ago
    Meet the ZTE Mimosa X, Nvidia’s first branded smartphone … – 2 hours ago
    ZTE and Nvidia Unveil The Mimosa X — First Smartphone With …- 2 hours ago
    NVIDIA and ZTE Unveil Mimosa X with Tegra 2 and Icera Modem …- 2 hours ago
    NVIDIA and ZTE Unveil Mimosa X with Tegra 2 and Icera Modem …- 2 hours ago
    ZTE and Nvidia Unveil The Mimosa X — First Smartphone With …- 2 hours ago
    NVIDIA and ZTE Unveil Mimosa X with Tegra 2 and Icera Modem …- 2 hours ago
    ZTE Mimosa X made official with NVIDIA Tegra 2 and Ice Cream …- 2 hours ago
    ZTE Mimosa X announced with Tegra 2 and first NVIDIA Icera HSPA+ …- 2 hours ago
    ZTE and Nvidia Unveil The Mimosa X — First Smartphone With – Home- 2 hours ago
    ZTE Mimosa X with NVIDIA Icera modem now official | lastnu.com- 2 hours ago
    ZTE Mimosa X is the first phone with NVIDIA Tegra 2 and Icera modem- 2 hours ago
    ZTE Mimosa X revealed with NVIDIA Tegra 2 and Icera modem …- 2 hours ago
    New ZTE smartphone completes Nvidia’s silicon loop – Blogrunner- 2 hours ago
    ZTE and Nvidia Unveil The Mimosa X — First Smartphone With …- 2 hours ago
    ZTE and Nvidia Unveil The Mimosa X — First Smartphone … | XYDO- 2 hours ago
    ZTE Mimosa X Handset is Brimming with Nvidia Hardware …- 2 hours ago
    ZTE Mimosa X: the first NVIDIA Icera modem smartphone- 2 hours ago
    ZTE and Nvidia Unveil The Mimosa X — First Smartphone … – Androiiid- 2 hours ago
    ZTE and Nvidia Unveil The Mimosa X — First Smartphone With …- 2 hours ago
    NVIDIA and ZTE announce the ZTE Mimosa X, The first smartphone …- 2 hours ago
    ZTE Mimosa X with NVIDIA Icera modem now official …- 2 hours ago

    etc etc etc

    • Raptor

      hahaha 1000 sites inform us 1000 times about shitty spec essentially 2013 prepaid go-phone

  • VASRA

    With this ZTE and nVidia have a chance of delivering the final nails to the WP coffin.

    WP is currently not competitive in *any* price category. The hardware is old, the phones are expensive and even with all the Android royalties flowing to MS direction, Android phones are cheaper and with faster hardware in all price categories.

  • prakreet

    This is perfect for my country where all phones are purchased outright without any contract..

  • Owain

    UK pay as you go and Sim only chaps are gonna go wild for this.

    • SGB101

      defo, it will replace the orange san-fran (zte Blaze for £90) at the top of the entry level pay’n’go, list, all it needs is the dev support the san-fran has.

      by 2013 phones will be where pc’s are today, hardware far exceeding the software, so we wont really be chasing spec’s any more. im still rolling an 3 year old i7 920, and i can see a good few years in it jet, may be 5. basically a mid level pc that will handle anything and everything.

      2013′s mid/entry level phone will handle all most maybe everyone’s needs.

  • android games

    what is icera modem actually ?
    thanks
    http://techtution.com/

  • redraider133

    ZTE seems to be making some nice phones with really good price points. Will be interesting to see how these perform and if they make their way to the US anytime soon.

  • yankeesusa

    For an off contract phone option this is not bad at all. If sprint came out with this phone i’d get it for my wife.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    This would be an excellent prepaid phone to use. Of course anyone who breaks their contract phone (assuming their network runs HSPA+) could pick up a really nice back up phone on the cheap compared to other smartphones!

  • Lee

    Dont be fooled by the cheapo pricetag from ZTE phones. I bought one recently and can only say that to call it junk would be an insult to junk everywhere. Power failures, complete system failure and fundamental operational problems with the version of android they’re running. They look good on paper but let the buyer beware.

  • Matt Yearian

    Very neat, would gladly pay the off-contract price for the freedom. Amazing how fast this tech is getting cheaper.