ZTE’s Axon brand continues to do miracles for the company in the US. After a surprising first launch last year, the Chinese manufacturer aimed to bring high-end specs down to an affordable level with the Axon 7 last July. To follow up on that success, ZTE is pushing an update that tries to address some of the biggest pain points of the smartphone, or any smartphone for that matter, particularly in signal strength as well as battery life.
Although obviously not the Nougat update that ZTE fans may have been hoping for, the minor maintenance release for the Axon 7 will undoubtedly be welcomed warmly just as well. ZTE promises that battery performance has been improved in two ways. One depends on ZTE itself, implementing optimizations in battery consumption of apps as a whole. The other half of the story actually involves user’s active control. It introduced a new “Fast battery drain apps” feature to pinpoint apps that, well, drain the battery quickly, allowing users to decide whether to remove the app or live with the consequences.
The update also includes improvements to signal strength performance and notification as well as a new group text feature on the default messaging app. It also pulls in Android security patches all the way to September one, including patches for the dreaded Quadrooter exploit. If ZTE manages to keep up with frequent updates, it will bode well for the Axon 7 as well as the brand as a whole.
While the smartphone itself is interesting, ZTE’s recent moves in the US are equally so. It just recently finished conducting its crowdsourced brainstorming, yielding rather “curious” ideas for future products. ZTE is basically trying a grassroots approach in entering the US market, versus a more conventional direct market strategy.
As for Nougat, the update announcement does hint at a future update, though that is probably already a given. There is also indication that ZTE is working with the CyanogenMod community to officially support the custom Android ROM, which could make the Axon 7 appealing to modders and developers as well.