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Is ZTE Distancing Itself From Windows Phone 7 Platform?

ZTE's UK Director of Mobile Device Operations, Wu Sa, refused to confirm whether the Chinese telecommunications giant plans to introduce smartphones based on Windows Phone 7 in 2011.

Speaking earlier today at a press event, Sa said that the company was closely monitoring Windows Phone 7 as a platform but stressed that, as a telecommunications company, ZTE is bound to explore potential alternatives (otherwise known as Plan B) including Meego, Symbian and Qualcomm Brew OS.

He went on to say, referring to the possibility of producting WP7 ZTE phones, that the move would be largely driven by market demand and the usabiilty of the device and support from networks would be vital factors that would determine their platform strategy.

This is a radically different stance from last year when Zhang Xiaohong, vice president of ZTE's mobile device operatations, declared that they will work according to Microsoft's agenda to release ZTE products.

Ditto last year, when ZTE Europe CEO Lin Qiang said at Mobile World Congress that they would launch Windows Phone 7 devices in Q4 (of 2010) and keep Windows Mobile 6.5 for low-powered, cheaper models.

We managed to track down two ZTE phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional, both of which were launched last year; the ZTE X990 also known as Messenger and the CDMA-only ZTE N72, both of which were QWERTY handsets, were the last attempts by ZTE to produce Windows phones.