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ZTE to bring Windows Phone to U.S. by year's end

The head of ZTE's North American region said the company is looking to bring the Tania, a Windows Phone, to the U.S. by the end of 2012.

The ZTE Tania is only available in Asia and the U.K....for now. Lynn La/CNET

NEW ORLEANS--From a user point of view, ZTE's head of the North American business, Lixin Cheng, prefers the Windows Phone OS over Android.

"In my personal experience, the iPhone, of course, has a well-polished user interface experience," Cheng told CNET. "And then Windows, and then Android."

But for the small-time phone manufacturing company, which has been steadily trying to plant a presence in the United States, releasing Windows Phone devices hasn't been easy.

In fact, the majority of ZTE handsets run on Android. Along with the ZTE Orbit, which is available in the U.K., another Windows Phone device ZTE has under its belt is the Tania. Sold only in China and the U.K., Cheng said it will be brought to the United States by the end of this year.

Although Cheng believes Microsoft's mobile OS has all the elements to be successful in the market, his company's relationship with the software company didn't go smoothly early on.

During the beginning stages of Windows Phone's launch, Microsoft restricted hardware requirements and limited the number of OEM vendors ZTE could partner with, preferring its devices to only feature high-end brand components.

That, however, clashed with ZTE's aim of producing inexpensive phones.

"The prices of products aren't decided by what you do as a company," Cheng said. "It's more decided on the competition and the market."

Fortunately for ZTE, the market favored low-cost handsets, like the competitively priced ones Nokia and LG were selling. This convinced Microsoft to loosen up its specifications.

Which means that at the end of the day, Cheng said, Microsoft can bring more Windows Phone products to the market -- something he hopes will continue for a while.

"Fundamentally, for the health of the ecosystem and industry," he said, "we need a third operating system."

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