ZTE, the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the United States, attempted to create a totally new user experience with its Axon M smartphone, which features dual-folding screens and a fingerprint sensor on the side, aiming to provide the largest screen possible without distractions.
However, according to the Teardowns service of ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm, developing this innovation could be hampered by the US government’s recent ban of American firms from exporting components directly to ZTE or through a third party for seven years. The ban was implemented because ZTE allegedly shipped telecom equipment to Iran and North Korea.
The phone display itself is not from the United States, but the protective glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 5) and 60 per cent of the other electronics are sourced from US companies: Qualcomm, SanDisk, and Skyworks Solutions.
David McQueen, Research Director for Handsets and Devices at ABI Research notes: “The most crucial aspect of the ban may be ZTE not being allowed to use Qualcomm, Qorvo, Skyworks, or Avago Technologies for front-end components as well as Google and therefore Android for the operating system.”