ZTE has once again stated that it plans to introduce a Windows Phone device to the United States market, saying that they plan to do so by the end of the year. It’s a fairly tough quest, however, as not only is Windows Phone an underdog platform that’s working hard to get ahead, but ZTE itself is a very unknown brand in the United States (as of now, ZTE handsets largely run the Android operating system, and are sold in the U.K. and China.). They’d have to escape the shadow that is casted over them by HTC, Samsung, and Nokia, all within what is already a considerably niche OS.
Nevertheless, they do want to do it, especially now that the Windows Phone platform is more accommodating of their goals. See, ZTE wished to make low-cost, inexpensive phones, and before Tango, Microsoft’s minimum required hardware specifications only for the most part allowed pricy, high-end devices to exist. But now of course, things have changed. ZTE has already developed a low-cost device for emerging markets called the Orbit.
Given the late 2012 projected release date of their Windows Phone device, it should be interesting to see whether it will be based on Windows Phone 7.5, or the major Apollo update which is set to be available by then. Also, will it be well-endowed on a hardware and functionality level with NFC support, and other Apollo bells and whistles? We’ll see, but that would be nice. It would be unfortunate if they’re trying to sell outdated (and low-end, for that matter) hardware during a time when such a major update to the OS is coming. We also still don’t know about what the hardware requirements will be for a lower-end Apollo device.
We’ll see, but I think that their biggest challenge is building a brand in a place where they’re practically unheard of.