ZTE Launches 5.7″ 720p Grand Memo Smartphone With Quad-Core CPU And Android 4.1

ZTE has just introduced the Grand Memo flagship smartphone at MWC in Barcelona. The Grand Memo has top-shelf specs, including a 5.7-inch 720×1280 TFT display, a quad-core Qualcomm 800 processor, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a front-facing camera for video chat.

ZTE is marketing this as its phablet experience, as competitors like Huawei, Samsung, and most recently Asus bet big on extra-large screens. Considering how much data and texting outweigh our voice call smartphone usage, it seems to be paying off.

On paper, the Grand Memo also stands to compete under the hood, with 16GB onboard 2GB of RAM, a 3200 mAh battery and LTE, all packed into an 8.5mm thick package.

On the software side, Android 4.1 is running the show, with ZTE’s own flavor of OEM skin, Mifavor UI, laid on top. The UI is “specifically designed for smartphones,” according to the release, so that’s a plus. However, many Android users would agree that skins in general, whether it’s Sense or MotoBlur or Touchwiz, are cumbersome and annoying.

ZTE is offering its Z Cloud service with the Grand Memo, which supports DLNA and MHL for added connectivity.

Here’s what He Shiyou, ZTE EVP and Head of the Mobile Devices Division, had to say in a press release:

We have really tried to make this device fun for use at home, and practical for use in the office. By combining both of these factors, we have created a well-rounded large-screen handset that is suitable for any situation. It’s perfect for videos, gaming and music, and also for sending e-mails, checking news and making calls on the go. For those with a busy lifestyle, the ZTE Grand Memo will be indispensable.

ZTE pledged just over a year ago to infiltrate the U.S. market with high-end smartphones, as well as its home country of China.

The company has launched a number of fine phones, but it will take more time to put a dent in Android competitors like Motorola, HTC and, worst of all, Samsung, as well as fend off Apple’s iPhone here in the U.S. Globally, ZTE is the 4th-largest handset manufacturer,  according to IDC.

The Grand Memo is “expected to launch the second quarter” of this year, though pricing and country-by-country availability have not been specified.

Update: Engadget confirms that the phone will launch in Europe and China, but the U.S. is still a question mark.