ZTE was ranked by IDC Research as the number four global phone supplier in terms of units, edging past Apple, and trailing only Nokia, Samsung and LG. ZTE plans to build its brand in North America, where it is a virtually unknown player that rarely puts its name on handsets. Pixel Qi has landed a major OEM tablet with the Light 2 from ZTE, which is the biggest telecommunications enterprise in China. The ZTE Light 2 tablet PC packs in a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and claims long battery life. The Pixel Qi dual mode screen transforms from a normal color LCD to a high contrast black and white screen with no backlight. Pixel Qi’s display is readable outdoors, even in direct sunlight.

The ZTE Light 2 features a 12.6mm super slim design, Android 2.2 OS, Dolby Surround 3.0, DLNA support, HSPA 3G communications, USB 2.0 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 4GB of memory and weighs 389 grams (13.72 ounces). The seven-inch low-power Pixel Qi display has multitouch capacitive touch screen and a screen resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels delivering a pixel density of 170 pixels per inch. Many of the seven-inch tablets shown at CES 2011 and MWC 2011 have lower resoultion 800 by 600 displays.

Adam Zhang, vice president and president of ZTE Mobile Broadband Device, said ?We are excited to partner with Pixel Qi to bring their innovative display technology to market. It brings a new level of performance to our family of tablet PC?s, rendering excellent images under any light conditions.? ZTE?s first Android handset, the Racer, was shown in July of 2010. It came with Android 2.1 (Eclair) and a Qualcomm 7227 CPU. It had 8GB of internal memory plus a 2GB card was shipped with it.

This week in Barcelona at MWC 2011, ZTE showed the Skate, its new smartphone. This is an Android-powered handset expected to be available worldwide in May. It should increase ZTE?s presence which claimed 4.2 percent of the global mobile phone market, up from 2.8 percent in the year-earlier quarter.

Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen, CEO and founder of Pixel Qi said that ?working with ZTE, a world-leading telecommunication company with a global customer base, provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to address a worldwide market.? ZTE did not say how soon they would be shipping the Light 2, nor was there any information about pricing. However, the Clover Sunbook netbook shown at CES 2011 has a Pixel Qi display and is selling for $795. It is reasonable to suggest the ZTE Light 2 tablet’s suggested retail price will be in the same price range.

Pixel Qi’s only other shipping tablet is the Notion Ink Adam. A tablet that has a huge following rooting for their success, but they have suffered through a number of stops-and-starts. The Notion Ink Adam has yet to reviewed by any of the major technology publications. Their blog shows the developers commitment to fixing problems as they appear.

Jepsen said that over the next quarter additional design wins will appear. The tablet market is shaping up to be the place where new technology is going to be introduced first. Pixel Qi still has to prove to the market that their solution is worth paying extra for. When viewing videos of the Pixel Qi displays their color display does not appear as clear as the Active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) display for smartphones, like Samsung Mobile Display is selling. The market for tablets will grow very fast as Google’s Android and HP’s webOS competitors for the Apple iPad show up. Here are various projections of the market?s growth by analyst who think they can predict the future. BSN* will be here to post those actual numbers for our readers.