ZTE is teaming up with a Seattle startup to help customers block unwanted calls.
The China-based company announced today that its $399 Axon 7 smartphone will now come with Hiya’s caller ID and spam detection software integrated directly into the smartphone.
Seattle-based Hiya helps smartphone users identify callers, automatically block spam, avoid fraud, and search businesses with its app for Android and iOS. But this is the first time a mobile manufacturer has built Hiya’s technology directly into a device sold in the U.S.
Hiya CEO and founder Alex Algard noted that complaints to the FTC in regard to robocalls was up nearly 30 percent year-over-year in 2016.
“ZTE understands this problem and is approaching it head-on by using our tried and true solution that has been fighting unwanted calls for nearly 10 years,” he said in a statement.
In April, Hiya spun out of Whitepages, a Seattle-based company that Algard founded two decades ago. It has partnered with Samsung to pre-install its software on the Note 7 and other devices, but the feature is only available on unlocked phones for U.S. consumers.
Algard was also CEO of WhitePages until last year when he passed the torch to Rob Eleveld.
Hiya is entirely on mobile — its popular app was previously called Whitepages Caller ID — and has a worldwide footprint in nearly 200 countries with more than 1.5 billion unique numbers in its global database. The company says it scans 3.5 billion calls and texts per month.
“We’re excited to team up with Hiya to automatically protect our consumers from the nuisance of robocalls,” ZTE USA’s VP of Technology Planning and Partnerships Jeff Yee said in a statement.