ZTE Intros Nubia 5, Grand S Smartphones in US

The two handsets run Android and boast 5-in. displays with advanced 13-megapixel cameras.

Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE launched two handsets in the United States, the Nubia 5 and the Grand S, two midrange devices running Google’s Android operating system and coming to the market this week through Amazon and other online retailers.

The Nubia 5 is compatible with GSM/UMTS (Global System for Mobile Communications/Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) carriers and is available for preorder Oct. 5 with a suggested price of $449.99. Features include a 13 megapixel camera with a Konica-Minolta lens and intelligent stabilization, a 5-inch touch-screen display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 1.5GHz quad-core central processing units and 16GB of storage space.

The handset’s camera also offers three photography modes: Fun Mode, Auto Mode and Pro Mode. Fun Mode is for taking quick snapshots and applying filters, while Auto Mode provides a step up in features, like smile recognition and high dynamic range (HDR) imaging.

Lastly, Pro Mode brings the core functions of a more advanced digital camera into the phone through features like four-direction panoramic shooting, burst-mode continuous shooting, and putting control of light, focus, and gradient into the user's hands.

"As the software and apps available on today's smartphones replace more and more of the other devices we use on a daily basis, the specifications for features like cameras, displays and speakers are becoming increasingly sophisticated. The Nubia 5 really pushes that trend further," Lixin Cheng, chairman and CEO of ZTE USA, said in a statement. "Moreover, the launch of the ZTE Nubia 5 builds on our ongoing commitment to the U.S. ZTE will be working closely with our customers to make devices like this available in the U.S."

The Grand S, which won the 2013 iF International Design Award and is the company’s slimmest smartphone, is currently available for preorder, with a suggested price of $399.99.

Its quad-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and use of several MiFavor applications designed by ZTE provide the user experience under the unibody design, which features a 5-inch display with scratch-resistant glass and a 13-megapixel camera.

"For many consumers, technology and design are inseparable. Today's higher-end smartphones must be both physically and emotionally compelling, and the Grand S offers this winning combination of form and function," Cheng said in a statement. "We've been looking forward to bringing the Grand S to the U.S. since we announced the device at CES. Our goal is to launch more products like this in the future."

The worldwide mobile phone market is forecast to grow 7.3 percent year-over-year in 2013, marking a sharp rebound from the nearly flat (1.2 percent) growth experienced in 2012.

Strong demand for smartphones across all geographies is expected to drive much of this growth as worldwide smartphone shipments are forecast to surpass 1 billion units for the first time in a single year, according to a September report from research firm IDC.