Nokia launching Windows Phone 7 handsets for China in first half of 2012

ZTE plans to launch Windows Phone 7 handset in this year's third quarter

Nokia plans to launch a Windows Phone 7 handset for the Chinese market in the first half of this year, positioning itself to be among the first companies to officially bring Microsoft's mobile OS to the country, a Nokia spokesman said Friday.

But spokesman MC Cong declined to give details of the handset.

Chinese handset maker ZTE also plans on launching a Windows Phone 7 handset for China, but not until the third quarter, company spokeswoman Chen Zhengying said Friday.

Microsoft has yet to officially launch Windows Phone 7 in mainland China, but has said its mobile OS will finally arrive in China during the first half of the year.

For Nokia, the launch of Windows Phone 7 handsets in China could help the company boost sales against Android devices and Apple's iPhone. Although Nokia still had the largest smartphone market share in China at 28 percent during last year's third quarter, that figure used to be at 70 percent in 2010, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Last year, Nokia unveiled its first Windows Phone 7 handsets, which have now started to sell in Europe and the U.S. ZTE has also already launched a Windows Phone 7 handset, called the ZTE Tania, in Europe.

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