As some of you may know, ZTE had launched the Axon M in China last week, and during that launch event, the company's CEO revealed some interesting info regarding the company's upcoming flagship. ZTE's CEO, Cheng Lixin, basically confirmed that this year's flagship handset will be called the ZTE Axon 9, no the Axon 8 as pretty much everyone expected. As many of you may know, the ZTE Axon 8 was supposed to launch in 2017 as a successor to the ZTE Axon 7 which arrived back in 2016, but that did not happen.
Mr. Lixin did not elaborate on his statement, so we're not entirely clear why did ZTE opt to skip the 'Axon 8' naming, but Pocketnow does have an interesting theory. 'Axon' transliterates into 'sky machine', but the vocalization of a 'sky machine 8' would basically include a homophone for a phrase which means 'mess-up', so it is possible that is why ZTE wanted to stay away from the Axon 8 naming, though that's only a theory. Mr. Lixin did, however, tell Phoenix Tech that the company has focused its consumer product strategy to three classes, Class C, Class B and Class A. Class C products are aimed at Internet of Things, though this class will be focused primarily on cars, said Cheng Lixin. Class B products will essentially be the company's entry-level and mid-tier Blade-branded smartphones, while ZTE's Class A is aimed at Axon devices, Mr. Lixin specifically mentioned that Class A products are essentially Axon-branded devices, though he did not mention anything about premium only, so it seems like all Axon devices belong in this class.
Having said that, the company's 2016 flagship, the ZTE Axon 7, actually started receiving the Android 8.0 Oreo beta update quite recently, which probably means that a stable build is right around the corner. This handset was originally launched with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, though ZTE did update it to Android 7.1.1 Nougat a while back. We still do not have any info on the upcoming ZTE Axon 9, unfortunately, but some rumors and leaks will probably start appearing in the near future, as the device is expected to arrive in the first half of this year.