Last month, China officially became the world’s largest consumer of smartphones. It makes sense when you think about it. The population of the United States hovers around 310 million people, Europe has about 730 million people, and as for China, they’ve got well over 1.3 billion men, women, and children.
Now, because China has the world’s largest smartphone market, chances are you’re going to hear a lot more about Chinese smartphones over the coming years. Here are the three companies that should be on your radar: Huawei, Lenovo, and ZTE. Today they’re roughly where Samsung was half a decade ago, meaning they make semi-interesting devices, but nothing that’s going to blow people’s minds. That’ll change over time of course, and we’ll be tracking that evolution.
But enough background, let’s get on to the news! Today Lenovo is announcing a new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich device called the A660. It’s dust proof, water proof, and it even has two SIM card slots. Under the hood, there’s a dual core 1 GHz processor, a 0.3 megapixel front facing camera, a 5 megapixel rear facing camera, and a 4 inch display that pushes 800 x 480 pixels. It’s a little thick at 10.5 mm, but then again this is a phone that’s meant to survive being accidentally dropped in the toilet, so we’ll forgive it for that.
Will we see this thing being sold outside of China? Probably not, but it’s important to pay attention to what this device represents. Dual SIM is big in parts of the world where every penny saved is important. Having a rugged device is also critical if you’re going to hold onto a smartphone for at least a few years.
We don’t see too many dual SIM phones here in the West, but Sony, with the Xperia V, really impressed us last month at IFA in Berlin. That thing is not only gorgeous and powerful (Snapdragon S4, 720p screen, 13 MP camera), but it’s also completely waterproof.