China is a huge smartphone market that has yet to get a taste of Windows Phone. As the platform continues to struggle to grow its user base, all those smartphone-buying consumers could give Microsoft’s prospects a real boost. When, then, will the country finally get a chance at some Windows Phone action? While earlier estimates had a Chinese launch occurring before the end of last year, we’ve since seen that revised to sometime in 2012. Last we heard about the rumors a couple months back, we couldn’t nail things down to a more specific time frame. Today, we’re starting to get a better picture of the Windows Phone launch in China, thanks to Nokia revealing plans to introduce one of the first-such handsets sometime before July.
We’ve heard about the possibility for Tango-based Nokia phones to arrive during Q2 2012. The understanding is that these would feature hardware choices that allow the phones to be sold relatively cheaply compared to existing Windows Phone handsets. Offering affordable options like that is going to be very important in reaching as broad a market as possible.
Besides Nokia, we’ve also heard more from ZTE, which has its own aspirations for the Chinese Windows Phone market. The manufacturer should have a handset out sometime in Q3.