ZTE USA, the fourth largest smartphone supplier in the United States, announced it is bringing its Blade smartphone series to the United States with the Blade V8 Pro. The Blade V8 Pro features a 5.5-inch screen, fingerprint sensor, dual-lens camera, dual SIM slot, expandable storage up to 128 GB, a 3,140 mAh battery, and Qualcomm Quick Charge 2 technology. The Blade V8 Pro, sold unlocked for GSM/UMTS/LTE networks, is available for pre-order immediately through B&, and for $229.98.

Sierra Wireless and Altair Semiconductor announced Sierra’s AirPrime modules have been approved for use on Verizon’s LTE Cat-M1 network. The Sierra Wireless Cat-M1 module is based on the Altair ALT-1210 LTE platform. The ALT-1210 enables greater than 10 years of battery life for many use cases, and features 3GPP Release 13 Cat-M1 extended coverage and IoT-optimized throughput.

Separately, NimbeLink announced its Skywire LTE-M modem – based on the Sequans Monarch LTE platform – has been certified for use on Verizon’s 4G LTe network.

Samsung NEXT (formerly Samsung Global Innovation Center) announced the creation of the Samsung NEXT Fund, a $150 million venture capital investment fund, to increase Samsung’s global support of early stage startups pursuing advanced software and services innovation.

The Fund targets pre-Seed to Series B investments with a focus on virtual reality, artificial intelligence, IoT, and other new frontier technologies. Companies that have received capital from the Fund so far include: Converge Industries, Dashbot, Entry Point VR, Filament, Intezer, LiquidSky, Otto Radio, 2Sens, SafeDK, and Virtru.

NuCurrent, a provider of power transfer solutions, introduced a new line of medium power, wireless power coils for Qi low frequency applications including mobile and consumer accessory OEMs.

Joining NuCurrent’s single substrate multimode (Qi, AirFuel) medium power coil, are four newly created coil designs ranging from 10 watts to 15 watts. The new implementations include 0.27 millimeter, 0.35 millimeter, 0.60 millimeter, and 0.75 millimeter thicknesses, which deliver 80-85 percent efficiency. NuCurrent also provides PCB and wire-wound solutions for single or multimode applications on a single substrate without compromising performance.

Energous Corporation, the developer of the WattUp over-the-air charging technology, announced that multiple partners will be launching products that incorporate WattUp wireless charging.

According to the company, WattUp will be put to use in Chipolo’s Plus Gen 2 and Sticker wireless tracking devices; the sensor array of CVR Global/CVR Medical’s Carotid Stenotic Scan; PERI’s MicroPack, which provides a 700 mAh charge to any micro-USB port; Sejin Electronic’s miniature WattUp transmitter; SK Telesys’ hearing aid and smart ID card; and Tactual Labs’ Prism Pen.