It finally happened. As expected, Windows Phone was launched by Microsoft in China today. The newest version of the OS, codenamed Tango, and referred to officially as Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh, comes with full support for both Simplified and Traditional Chinese, alongside many other new languages.
Microsoft showcased its new Chinese-language interface on some generic hardware (seen below). It looks like all the main UI elements are there, and the Chinese characters really blend in nicely with Microsoft’s newfound love for typography.
The WP that’s launching in China is, however, doing so without support for Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn integration in the People Hub. That’s to be expected to a certain extent, yet the fact that there are no local replacements to be found (Sina Weibo, Tencent, and Renren come to mind for example) is rather baffling. Microsoft has indicated in the past that it might support local players in the filed, so perhaps that integration is coming in the future. Still, this makes one of WP’s advantages inexistent in China for the time being. Additionally, Xbox Live is gone too, being replaced by a mere listing of games that are installed.
Executives from all the three big Chinese carriers were present at Microsoft’s launch, which suggests they’ll all release WP devices in the future. Yet whether or not China Mobile will get TD-SCDMA-enabled Windows Phones before Windows Phone 8 ships is still uncertain.
Exactly one week from today we’ll see Nokia’s big launch of Windows Phones for the Chinese market, but in the meantime HTC took the time to release a new handset during Microsoft’s event. The HTC Eternity is basically an HTC Titan made for China (oddly, Eternity was the Titan’s codename before it became available worldwide). Previous reports mentioned the Chinese Titan as being called Triumph, but in the end HTC chose Eternity, for whatever reason.
The HTC Eternity, the first Windows Phone to hit China, comes with a 4.7-inch 480×800 touchscreen, a 1.5 GHz single-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 16 GB of built-in storage space, an 8 MP camera with LED flash, and a 1,600 mAh battery. It’s made of aluminium and has gone on sale today unlocked.
ZTE was also present and showcased the Mimosa, a low-end device that will compete with the likes of the recently announced Nokia Lumia 610. The Mimosa should be out in May and will have a 4-inch 480×800 touchscreen, an 800 MHz processor, 256 MB of RAM, 4 GB of built-in storage, and a 5 MP camera. The ZTE Mimosa looks like it will be the Chinese version of the Orbit.
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