ZTE

Google and Samsung have joined Chinese mobile phone manufacturers in expressing concerns to Chinese courts about Microsoft's purchase of Nokia. Redmond is set to absorb Nokia's phone business for 7.2 billion dollars, integrating the division responsible for Lumia, Asha and X device families. The reasons behind this move are fears that the deal will result in higher patent licensing costs.

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We can expect ZTE to continue making Windows Phone devices again in 2014. He Shiyou, executive vice-president and head of the handset business of Shenzhen-based ZTE, tells the Financial Times the company would again begin producing phones using Microsoft’s Windows platform after the acquisition of Nokia is completed.

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Just ahead of Nokia's new device revaluation in London, which is supposed to spearhead a whole new wave of new Lumia phones and an exciting new year for the manufacturer, there comes rumor that Chinese Windows Phone OEMs will play their cards cautious for 2013.

Citing insider sources, Chinese tech site WPDang claims that Huawei will churn out one single new Windows Phone for the new year: the Ascend W2, which reportedly sports a 5" screen. Not much to look up to, just this one shot.

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Remember the alledged ZTE Windows Phone 8 hardware we took a look at last month? In that article we also looked at some colourful devices that sported a centralised USB port, which is the norm with latest Windows Phone hardware. Could they have been the real deal? We're still not entirely sure which way to lean, but what we do now know is ZTE has confirmed at a conference that they'll be supporting Windows Phone 8.

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The Samsung Focus or ZTE Orbit?

The US Congressional Intelligence Committee has labeled Huawei and ZTE as security threat to the US and is advising firms to not do business with them. This follows after an 11-month investigation into both companies where their cooperation on certain matters was, according to the committee, sufficiently lacking.

The charges (at least for Huawei) go back a few years here in the US where they were accused of high-level espionage of Nortel, with some even alleging that their IP theft helped destroy the company (see the excellent CNBC documentary on it here).

Cisco and Motorola have also accused Huawei of either stealing IP or their own employees to gain knowledge of those companies. In addition, charges of bribery, corruption and discriminatory behavior have been alleged too.

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The Orbit is now the 'Render' on US Cellular

Here's some odd Friday night news and we’re kind of truly blown away it. Evidently, ZTE has managed to score a carrier for one of their Windows Phones, specifically US Cellular.

The ZTE Render, which many of you will know as the Orbit from awhile back, features a CDMA chipset with EVDO (Rev A?), a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, a 4” display and a not so-impressive 4GB of storage.

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Today marks the start of the 2012 China International Exhibition, and ZTE has arrived guns blazing with the company's mobile phone market strategy director Dennis Lui sharing a very interesting photo with the world. Analysing the capture above, we can see what appears to be one or two ZTE Windows Phone 8 handsets. The device on the right looks almost identical to the ZTE Tania, which runs Windows Phone 7.5.

Unfortunately due to the blur effect added into the mix, it's near impossible to tell what's what within. As well as the similarities to a legacy handset, we can only spot a USB port in the centre on the device in the middle, which appears to be the standard for Windows Phone 8 hardware. If that wasn't enough, we could well be looking at Windows Phone 7.8 here on the Tania. As for the two devices to the left, we're not entirely sure but they almost look HTC - though we could be (and probably are) mistaken.

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My Next Windows Phone - Mateo Nunez

My Next Windows Phone is.....

The Lumia 920 should be the phone of the year. Nokia has pushed innovation with their hardware design and their customer care. Nokia did not make any specific announcements about what carrier’s will get which phones. Which brings me to my problem. I do not want to switch to ATT because I can’t afford it. I am pretty positive that the Lumia 920 might be an ATT exclusive, no official announcements have been made.  

The Lumia 820, which is a great phone but doesn’t have the new Pure View camera. I like the 820 because I feel that a 4.3” screen is a perfect size for me personally, and the removable back covers are a nice touch.  I was hoping for a larger battery, but 1650mAH is pretty good and the screen isn’t as good as the 920 but still pretty classy.

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A few days ago, we visited London’s newest shopping mecca, Westfield to get a quick take on how much coverage Windows Phone is getting in the retail space. Much has been made about Windows Phone not having good retail exposure. We wanted to see if this was true and get a feel for how things look for Windows Phone in the UK's largest shopping centre.

Almost as soon as we entered the main concourse, we were surprised to find a full-blown ZTE promotional stand. Currently ZTE produce one Windows Phone, the Tango spec Tania, a device that’s somewhat hampered by having only 4GB memory it does make up for it with a generous 4.3" screen size. The stand was there primarily to promote a new Android phone but the Tania was along for the ride and being displayed right up alongside it.

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The Mango-powered ZTE Tania is currently priced at just 990 kr (£90 / $140) on Swedish consumer electronics retailer CDON. Don't let this entry-level handset (and the price tag) fool you though, as this little beast surprised us at CES 2012 with its overall design and hardware specifications.

The ZTE Tania sports a 5MP camera, 4.3" screen, 4GB storage, 512MB RAM and a 1Ghz chip. CDON is blowing other retailers out the water with this attractive pricing. Clove UK currently has the same device listed for £210. Be sure to check out our previous hands-on coverage from CES below.

Head on over to the CDON ZTE Tania product page for more information (select "without subscription" for full price).

Source: CDON.se, via: WinGadget.se; thanks, Peter, for the heads up!

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Recent FCC documentation shows that a new Windows Phone device made by Chinese manufacturer ZTE has passed certification. There are not many details on the N859, as it is called, other than that it is CDMA-only and will be running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). One N859 has popped up on Occasional Gamer's gaming stats page, so we know there is at least one out there being tested in the wild.

It's a little odd that ZTE would be looking to release a WP7.5 device so close to the launch of Windows Phone 8 (Apollo), as many consumers will likely just hold off on buying a new phone so they can get the latest and greatest. However, ZTE tends to target emerging markets and cost-conscious consumers, so perhaps they are betting on demand for a more economical device with fewer bells and whistles.

Source: FCC, OccasionalGamer; Via: WindowsPhoneDaily, Engadget

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ZTE is slowly growing to be an important partner with Microsoft and Windows Phone as they're one of the largest OEMs in the world (that you never heard of). Their "Tania" has been around for some time now but it surprisingly hasn't launched yet in China, which received its big Windows Phone push last month with Nokia and HTC leading the way.

Now it looks like the device will finally be out within days though no specific carrier has been announced. According to Wei Xiaodong, ZTE sales director, the phone will be released by the end of this month and will get a CPU bump from 1GHz to 1.4Ghz--a trend we're seeing with the more premium Windows Phones like the 710 and Focus 2. Everything else will stay the same though: 4.3" screen, 4GB storage, 512MB RAM and a 5MP camera. Of course the OS is expected to be "Tango" for the Chinese localization.

We played with the Tania back at CES and actually like the little guy. While perhaps not amazing by certain standards, for a premium Windows Phone it's actually well done. ZTE has also announced plans to make a push here in the United States and it will be curious to see how that pans out.

See our hands-on video on the ZTE Tania from CES 2012 here.

Source: CNMO; via Unwired View

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Professor Green, an established English rapper, has been spotted in London wielding a ZTE Tania. Check out the video above (note: it contains strong language) to see the artist use Windows Phone to locate a coffee house, and his team use the same device to record some of the live concert on-stage. Even DJ IQ takes the Tania for a quick spin with some humorous viewing.

It's good to see ZTE making an effort in the UK as we've yet to see any official event to launch a Windows Phone from the manufacturer. The ZTE Tania is available from Clove UK for just £175 (dropped again from £199).

Source: YouTube; thanks Leon for the heads up!

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Back in January, ZTE was optimistic on bringing their range of Windows Phone to the US. At the time, they noted "The United States and China will be key engines driving our smartphone sales" which seemed ambitious, only because navigating the sea of US carrier approval is a tough goal to accomplish.

Now in a article on CNet, ZTE is once again promising to bring the Windows Phone Tania to US shores by the end of the year.

In of itself, this is not news at all. It is simply ZTE re-stating what they said five months ago to Reuters. What makes us scratch our head is if the ZTE Tania, a relatively low-end Windows Phone 7.5 device, is coming by year's end to the US--what OS will it be running?

It seems odd to want to sell what is at best a low-range phone from 2011 right when Windows Phone 8 is reportedly launching at the the same time. The Tania sports a 4.3" screen, 1GHz CPU, 5MP rear-camera and a measly 4GB of storage. Presumably some of that will be upgraded which is fine, we did like the Tania for what is was back at CES (see our hands on after the break).

But will they really launch a device with Windows Phone 7.5 by December? Or will it have perhaps another OS on board, like Windows Phone 8? We really have no idea as that status of Windows Phone 7.5 as an OS is unknown at this point, which makes ZTE's plans curious. Maybe they are planning on selling direct as a pay-as-you-go phone or maybe they are planning on updating the hardware and OS for the US, in which case are we really still talking about the Tania?

Like we said, this raises some interesting questions. Either way though, we're happy to see ZTE try their hand at the US market.

Source: CNet

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Today is March 21st which means Microsoft took the big step in growing the Windows Phone ecosystem by releasing the mobile OS in mainland China.

Launching on numerous devices, including the HTC Triumph (aka TITAN), the Nokia Lumia 800c and offerings from ZTE (including the Orbit/Mimosa), Microsoft looks to regain some ground in the smartphone war by offering a variety of hardware running the refresh of Windows Phone 7.5 "Tango" (build 8773) in one of the largest emerging markets in the world.

The press conference was held in Beijing in a makeshift warehouse with HTC, Nokia, ZTE, Qualcomm and Samsung all in attendance. In addition, Simon Leung Corporate Vice President, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region was also there to introduce the operating system to the audience. The press conference involved a demonstration of the OS, new hardware, Skydrive, Office as well as mention the more than 2,000 Chinese applications already in the Marketplace, including 50 top tier apps.

Overall, it looks to have been a successful launch though of course, it remains to be seen how keen on Windows Phone China is in the next few months as these devices go on sale around the massive country.

See more photos and coverage at WinP.cn; Thanks, Lucas, for the tip!

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Although overshadowed a bit by Nokia today, ZTE who earlier released the Tania has also put out the Orbit which was announced early this morning. The Orbit is yet another low-cost phone presumably for emerging markets and East Asia though the company has expressed interest in coming to the US and Europe as well.

The Orbit features a new Qualcomm processor to Windows Phone: the Qualcomm MSM7227A-1 which is described as a "low cost, low voltage" CPU for sub-$150 devices. In addition, here are the other specs just released:

  • EDGE 900/1800/1900
  • HSDPA 900/2100, DPA 7.2Mbps
  • RAM 256MB, User 4GB
  • 4-inch, WVGA (800x480), 65K colour, TFT, capacitive
  • 5MP AF/flash camera
  • GPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP
  • Accelerator, compass, proximity light
  • DLNA, NFC, FOTA, HD Voice, Dual Mic, FM Radio

Interestingly the press release from ZTE notes that it has 512MB of RAM but we confirmed that this is a 256MB device as seen in our pics below. The phone has the same nice feel as the Tania including a slick chrome finish. The screen is a little washed for our liking but we're a bit spoiled with Nokia ClearBlack, Samsung Super AMOLED+ and HTC's S-LCD.

The unit we played with clearly has some work yet to be done on it, including some issues with the touch-capacitive buttons and camera (which didn't work) but we'll chalk that up to early prototype problems. Overall the Orbit is a unique phone with a custom-OEM pink Accent color. No other "custom UI" changes were noted with this review unit nor any NFC apps to take advantage of the NFC hardware that this supposedly sports.

The OS was an interesting build 8755 which probably classifies as "Tango" though from what we understand there is no Tango-proper build of the OS yet and OEMs aren't even referring to it with that name. Either way, clearly ZTE is betting that Windows Phone has a chance and we're impressed with their design even if the hardware is a little on the low side--we think they're a company to watch.

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So we're already had the predicted Lumia 610 and European 900 announced at MWC, but what about handsets from other manufacturers? We've had the Microsoft team work hard lowering the requirements for smartphones to run the OS, but still provide a butter smooth experience, and ZTE look set to announce a budget Windows Phone shortly - the ZTE Orbit.

The handset is set to sport similar specifications to the Lumia 610 by Nokia, and will also be launching in Q2 this year. We'll be keeping all eyes and ears prepped for anything surrounding the Orbit, while you can check out our latest MWC 2012 coverage.

Source: Windows Phone Team Blog, thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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In a press release "teaser" from ZTE, the company has announced that they will be...err...announcing eight new phones at Mobile World Congress next week. While no specifics were given, of course, we know that a few of those eight devices will be Windows Phones while the rest will be Android.

More specifically the company will be touting multi-core, LTE and 4G radios on said devices though multi-core is reserved for Android (Windows Phone won't get support till Windows Phone 8).

Clearly ZTE is on track to deliver what they promised in January including an aggressive push into the US market as well as Europe. The company appears to be trying to follow in the footsteps of HTC by breaking past their East Asia enclaves and go far and wide in the market.  This is something we hope their successful at as we were generally impressed with their first Windows Phone, the Tania, back at CES 2012.

Read the full presser after the break...

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The pricing for the upcoming ZTE Tania low-spec Windows Phone at Clove UK has plummeted to just £199 (from £250), a price that will interest anyone who is making the switch from feature handsets. The handset, which features a 4.3" screen, 1Ghz processor, 5MP camera, and 4GB storage is nothing short of amazing but for anyone who doesn't require storage for music and the like it's a good choice. With a 1Ghz chip, the user experience of the OS will remain stable as you'd expect on a higher end model.

Clove states that this new price reduction places ZTE's Windows Phone £95 cheaper than the Samsung Omnia W, the arguably more cost effective choice. This new pricing could be to match the Lumia 710, which can also be found at Three and Vodafone for £199 (and sports more storage, better screen and processor). Nokia is aggressively tagging their handsets so ZTE will need to react to this with more competitive pricing should they wish consumers to pick up their product.

The ZTE Tania is not yet available at Clove, but will be released in a reported ten days time. Will you be picking one up (or recommending it to someone)?

Source: Clove UK (ZTE Tania), thanks Richard for the heads up!

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