ZTE’s CEO, Cheng Lixin, made some news at the launch of the foldable Axon M smartphone in the company’s native China last week by announcing that the Axon 9 will be the name of its newest flagship smartphone for 2018.
Cheng told Phoenix Tech that he has focused ZTE’s consumer product strategy to three classes. Class C will feature Internet of Things items with a focus on cars. Class B will feature entry- and mid-tier Blade-series phones while Class A would feature the Axon phones. It seems that the Axon 9, not the Axon 8, will be the spiritual successor to the Axon 7 of 2016, soon to receive a clean UI bill of Android Oreo.
While the Galaxy S9 and an assumed iPhone 9 are expected from Samsung and Apple this year, here’s a fun fact: the Chinese name for the Axon series transliterates into “sky machine,” but the vocalization of “sky machine 8,” would have included a homophone for a phrase meaning “mess-up.” Many Asian phonemakers avoided branding around the number ‘4’ as many languages place the word as a homophone for death.
The executive said that he would work to bring domestic sales up from its laggard position in the Chinese market, especially considering that ZTE is the world’s 7th-largest smartphone brand by shipments.