In the Android world, smartphones are generally refreshed and replaced on a one-year schedule. ZTE, however, has been mostly quiet about what would replace the hit Axon 7, and now, we’re finally getting some information on that.

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ZTE’s Axon 7 was a hit among Android enthusiasts thanks to powerful specs, an affordable price point, and killer hardware. Not long after, a new variant of the phone was released, but a true successor was never announced in 2017. Rather, ZTE seemingly turned its attention to the foldable Axon M.

However, we’re now getting word that during a press event in China (via Android Authority), ZTE CEO Lixin Cheng stated that the Axon 9, not the Axon 8, would be the successor to the Axon 7. It’s unclear exactly why ZTE would skip the number 8, but a Chinese site reporting the news suggests that it is due to how it would be pronounced in the Chinese language.

Cheng didn’t offer any information on when the Axon 9 would debut, but the timing of this reveal and the fact that the Axon 7 debuted in 2016 point toward a potential reveal at some point in 2018. Who knows, maybe the company will surprise us at MWC 2018 next month…

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