ZTE The9ZTE The9, a joint venture co-founded by telecom equipment and smartphone maker ZTE and online game company The9, planned to release this month Fun Box, a TV and game smart box which embeds several online games developed by The9, according to a microblog posted by Zhu Jun, CEO of the game developer.

[Update]: The joint venture released Fun Box March 19 and announced that the 499 yuan (roughly US$80) smart box will be open for pre-order on JD from April 10 together with a Bluetooth gamepad which is priced at 199 yuan. Moreover, ZTE The9 has partnered up with game and content providers to form an alliance, including Sohu, Shanda, Youzu, LineKong, Chukong Technology, Funshion, among others.

Powered by game engine based on Android system, the product will feature quad-core 1.9GHz Nvidia Tegra processor, 72 unit Nvidia Geforce GPU and supports 4K hi-definition videos. Zhu also disclosed that the smart box will have a Bluetooth gamepad with gravity and vibration sensors.

Zeng Xuezhong, executive VP of ZTE, disclosed that the product will be released before the launch of Tron, a similar product jointly developed by Huawei and Perfect World and scheduled to hit market this May at around 1,200 yuan (roughly $ 195).

Guangdong Cable Network just invested 12.50 million yuan in ZTE The9 for a 10% stake in the joint venture, which will provide paid gaming, video and reading services for more than 13 million users of the investor.

image credit: The9