ZTE considering eight-core smartphones for the future

The company is targeting the high-end smartphone market

Chinese handset maker ZTE said it will consider releasing smartphones built with eight-core processors in the future as the company prioritizes the high-end market this year.

ZTE plans to launch before mid-year in China so-called "super phones," which will be loaded with quad-core processors from Nvidia's new Tegra 4 chips. But in a statement on Monday, the company said it would even look at using eight-core chips to build phones with faster processing speeds.

"Speed means that as much as possible we will have dual-core, quad-core or even eight-core platforms in the future," said He Shiyou, ZTE's head of mobile devices division.

It's unclear to which vendors ZTE will turn to provide the eight-core processors. In January, Samsung announced such a chip, called the Exynos 5 Octa, that essentially works as two quad-core processors packaged together as one. The chip promises to offer faster processing speeds, along with better power efficiency to save on battery life.

ZTE, better known as a low-end handset developer, was the fifth largest smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter, according to research firm IDC. But its market share remains small at 4.3 percent, and trails far behind larger rivals Apple and Samsung.

Growth for the Chinese handset maker, however, continues to soar, with its smartphone sales up 100 percent in 2012 from the previous year, the company said on Monday. By 2015, the company aims to become one of the top three handset manufacturers.

At this week's Mobile World Congress show, ZTE will launch another model as a part of its "Grand" series of high-end phones. Earlier this year, the company unveiled its flagship ZTE Grand S phone, which comes with a 5-inch HD screen, and a quad-core processor from Qualcomm.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service

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