ZTE says U.S. launch of Grand S delayed until 2014, but Grand Memo coming this year

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| May 22, 2013

ZTE Grand S front

Shortly after ZTE took the wraps off of its 6.9mm-thick Grand S at CES earlier this year, the company confirmed that it would be bringing its new smartphone to the U.S. later in 2013. Now it looks like anyone interested in a Grand S device will have to wait a tad longer, though, as a ZTE executive has told CNET that it won't be bringing that hardware stateside until 2014.

Lixin Cheng, president of ZTE's North American arm, has revealed that the Grand S's U.S. debut has been delayed due to the extra time that ZTE needs to take to fulfill the requests of its carrier partners. Of course, by the time 2014 rolls around, the Grand S won't exactly be a fresh handset anymore. Cheng acknowledged this, saying that ZTE won't be selling a year-old device. Instead, the product that ZTE launches will likely be a member of the "Grand S family." Cheng didn't offer up any other details about the forthcoming hardware, but he did offer a bit of a teaser, saying that "the Grand S series will evolve."

Cheng went on to say that ZTE does plan to expand the number of products that it sells in the U.S. in 2013. One of those devices will be the Grand Memo, which debuted earlier this year with a 5.7-inch 720p display. ZTE also plans to increase its efforts to promote its brand in the U.S. this year and to gain more name recognition among U.S. wireless customers.

ZTE says that it's currently the third-largest U.S. prepaid phone vendor, growing 85.7 percent from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. Still, the manufacturer isn't exactly a household name in the U.S., likely because the few ZTE-made smartphones that have hit the national carriers are mostly low-end or mid-range units. However, it sounds like ZTE is working to change that. The launch details of the Grand Memo and Grand S-style device are up in the air for now, but once they do arrive, it'll be interesting to see which carriers they end up on and how consumers respond to hardware from a relatively unknown (to them) name. Until we hear more, you can check out our hands-on with the Grand Memo to get a taste of what we'll be getting later in 2013.