The Chinese smartphone market has been growing at a shocking speed, overtaking almost every other country so far. However, the country has traditionally been very low in the gadget launching echelon.
Even Apple, who is making a very large share of its profit from China these days, has been putting the country in the 2nd or 3rd batch. Microsoft and its Windows Phone OEMs have been doing worse. Windows Phone 7 first launced in Europe back in October 2010, in the US in November 2012, and in China... March 2012.
This is about to change, says Chinese tech site WPDang. Windows Phone 8 is said to be launched in China as soon as the 3rd week of December, this year. Only one month after the US. A thousand times better than last time.
Nokia will most likely be leading the expansion in China. After all, Nokia is still having very heavy presence, and rather strong brand loyalty. The Finnish phone maker is controlling over 75% of Chinese Windows Phone market, according to a market report released by WPDang last month. The coming of Windows Phone 8 is a great opportunity to strengthen the ecosystem in the rapidly growing market, and maybe edge the other Windows Phone OEMs out a bit more.
In earlier news, the Lumia 920 for China Mobile (the largest of China's three carriers) had surfaced. According to WPDang's anonymous source, a separate version for China Unicom (the smaller carrier). Meanwhile, China Telecom (the smallest carrier) was Nokia's launch partner for Lumia 800, therefore we can safely assume the two will cooperate again on Lumia 920 too. It's quite some achievement to get along well with all three carriers in the country.
Following the thinking of "we better have a bit of everything, just in case", the Chinese government lead the 3G network into sort of a mess. Telecommunication is a 100% state-controlled sector, carriers are entirely owned by the government, and could do only what they are told to. Therefore China Unicom was given the WCDMA operating license, China Telecom given CDMA 2000, while China Mobile was assigned the homegrown (not compatible with anything else in the international market) "TD-SCDMA".
To make the matter worse, China Telecom's CDMA 2000 is completely different from what's used by Verizon and Sprint by requiring a SIM card. Yes, the technology and frequency is largely the same, but to put a phone on China Telecom's network, you've got to have a slot to shove a SIM card into. Working with all three of them means a carrier should ship some of its readily made phones to Unicom, punch SIM slots on existing CDMA phones for Telecom, and switch chipset for China Mobile. Hell lot of work for sure.
Now thanks partly to China Mobile upgrading its 3G network to 4G (TD-LTE), partly to TD-LTE's compatibility with both the "everywhere else LTE" as well as its elder brother TD-SCDMA, partly to Qualcomm's super adaptive Snapdragon S4 chip, full carrier support in China is made much easier. Let's see how Samsung (Ativ S) and HTC (Accord and maybe more)will compete.