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China is a big, vast country ripe for the smartphone market with its growing economy and access to new technology. So it's with keen interest that we focus on how well Windows Phone performs there over the next few months.

According to some leaked internal roadmaps for China Telecom, the nation's 3rd largest carrier, Windows Phone is a big hit with the folks who oversee operations. Reportedly they are planning on getting the Nokia Lumia 719c as well as the Samsung Minuet sometime this summer, augmenting the Lumia 610c and 800c which are already on sale.

For those who don't remember, the Lumia 719c is a device that so far has not yet been announced and bares a slight resemblance to the Lumia 710. Instead of physical keys though the 719c has capacitive buttons and what looks to be the same 3.7" screen and 5MP camera. Likewise, the Samsung Minuet is thought to be a variant of the recently announced Omnia M line, making both of these devices low to mid range offerings.

Finally, though the ZTE Mimosa (aka Orbit) is not listed on the roadmap it reportedly is still planned and should be released soon as well.

Source: WPDang (Translated); via Windows Phone Daily

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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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ZTE Orbit to be unveiled at MWC

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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