After spending some time with the Palm Pre in the Smartphone Round Robin, we became quite smitten with the form factor. The vertical slider is rather unique in the smartphone industry and it's surprising that out of all the Android form factors available, no one has put out a Pre-like device. Well, no more. Say hello to the ZTE Smooth which is as close to a rip off design of the Palm Pre as possible, except it doesn't manage to capture any of that Pre magic.

The ZTE Smooth is a lower end Android phone--runs Android 1.6 on a 2.8-inch QVGA screen and comes with your typical slew of connectivity options, it's expected to release in August (assumedly in China) but will probably never hit stateside. We still think a Pre-styled device is worth exploring but we'd rather have HTC or Motorola try to tackle it than ZTE. Nice try though.

[mobile163 via engadget]