ZTE Corporation wants one of the top three vendor spots in the global handset market by 2015, and the firm is challenging leaders in the market with a range of handsets and tablets announced at the “Mobile World Congress 2012” event in Barcelona.

According to a recent study, industry analyst Gartner ranked ZTE as No. 4 for world handset shipments in Q4 2011, and ZTE smartphone sales are accelerating faster than any other vendor—aside from Apple, of course.

“Our long-term goal for the Terminals Division is to achieve a compound growth rate of above 40 percent per year for five consecutive years from 2010, and to become one of the top three vendors in the global handset market by 2015,” said ZTE EVP and Head of the Terminals Division Mr. He Shiyou in a press release

The first ZTE device announced at the telecom industry event touts the descriptor: “One of the thinnest quad-core phones on the market today.” The ZTE Era is just 7.8-mm thick and showcases NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor and Icera 450 HSPA+ modem. It also has a 4.3-inch QHD display with 960-by-540 pixels and 8GB of expandable memory. This Android 4.0-based smartphone boasts “amazing battery life” and “outstanding performance” due to Tegra 3’s 4-PLUS-1 architecture that features a fifth battery-saver core. The ZTE Era will launch in Europe and China towards the second half of this year.

“In 2012, ZTE products will be building up from the low-middle end of the market into the middle-high end, with the ZTE Era being the best example of that development,” He Shiyou said. “We will continue our long-standing cooperation with operators around the world, but we will also continue to build our distributor channels (both ODM and OEM), and we will be focusing our marketing in particular on the high-end markets of Europe, America and Japan.”

The China-based telecoms equipment maker unveiled a host of new handsets and features at MWC 2012, such as the ZTE PF112 with a 4.5-inch HD screen at 1028-by-720 pixels. It also allocated 7-inch and 10.1-inch quad-core tablets to the European market, announced two new LTE smartphones, and updated models in existing handset ranges like the 3.5-inch Kis and 4-inch Acqua running on Android 2.3. Even the ZTE Blade II upgraded to a 1.0GHS processor.

One of the more notable offerings is the ZTE MiFavor UI smartphone that enhances the Android user experience, and the ZTE Touch and Share near field communications app that enables users to swap data or issue payments by touching devices together.

“This extensive new range of handsets, tablets, data cards and user features we are announcing here at Mobile World Congress 2012 will help us drive this momentum through 2012 and beyond. This is a new era for ZTE branded devices,” He Shiyou contended.

Specific details on pricing and date availability on each device and feature remain unknown, but the extensive ZTE portfolio is on display at MWC 2012 from now until March 1.

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