ZTE is best known for making low-end phones you can buy without a contract, but the company's North American CEO Lixin Cheng says it's venturing into high-end products next year with a US smartphone that will have features similar to the iPhone while being "more affordable," according to The Wall Street Journal. Cheng says the company is talking with the four major carriers about the phone, which will probably run Android or "Windows 7" (we assume he means Windows Phone 7).
ZTE is also planning on launching phones with LTE and other high-end features as part of an effort to grow in the US — Cheng says he expects US to be its largest market by 2015. The company already has a significant presence in China, which is a bigger smartphone market than the US and still growing, so the company has some work ahead of it to reach that goal. But it appears he's serious: ZTE currently has 10 offices and three R&D facilities in the US and is considering bringing manufacturing to the states as well. The budget manufacturer already has some Tegra 3 tablets transcending mediocre, so maybe a high-end smartphone isn't all that crazy.