ZTE makes a long lineup of smartphones, but now the company wants your help building the next one. Alongside the announcement of two new budget phones today, ZTE has shared that it plans to launch a new community, where members will be able to offer feedback and vote on what goes into its next handset. Will it be a flagship? A strong midrange contender? It seems like that choice will be up to you. ZTE says it aims to have a good idea of what the final product will look like by this time next year. So CES 2017 could be home to a pretty significant mobile announcement — unlike this year.
If it's a high-end phone, that wouldn't be anything new for ZTE; the company's flagship is the unlocked Axon, a device we found to have impressive performance, strong battery life, but a design that fell short of its bigger rivals. Presumably that device will one day get its own sequel but, depending on where the ceiling is, ZTE just might give you the chance to build something even better. There are bound to be some ceilings with what users can choose, though, so as promising as the idea might be, we'll have to see what the execution looks like. Are people merely picking components, or will they get a say in the whole design? ZTE's new community effort will also let users sign up for early access to software updates, and potentially even early hardware.