ZTE back in the US after trade ban with Visible R2
Chinese smartphone maker ZTE has made a low-profile comeback to the US market after suffering a trade ban for violating US economic sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The company was found guilty of selling its devices to the two international pariahs which, crucially, contained US made or designed components including chips made by Qualcomm. However, US president Donald Trump controversially intervened overturning the ban after Chinese president Xi Jinping personally contacted Trump in a move that saved the company from certain oblivion.
The new phone has found its way on to Verizon’s low-budget mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Visible. The Visible R2 (effectively a rebrand of the ZTE A0722) has modest specs, but is inline with what you’d expect for a US$99 device. It centers on a 5.4-inch LCD display with an 18:9 ratio and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400. Storage is limited to just 16GB while it has a 13MP rear camera that actually shoots in HDR. It ships with Android 8 Oreo out of the box.
ZTE’s comeback is also notable given the pressure that the US administration has placed on its Chinese counterpart Huawei. Although not hit with a trade ban, Huawei has stopped selling its smartphones in the lucrative US market after being accused of spying for the Chinese government. In Huawei’s case, its US woes haven’t stopped it from overtaking Apple in smartphone sales. ZTE, however, is just happy to still be breathing.