It seems all Windows Phone needed to give the OS a shot in the arm is pricing the handsets dirt cheap.
The second generation Windows Phones ZTE Tania and Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone 7.5 handsets are currently topping the charts at Amazon, outselling the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Note 2, which are of course a lot more expensive, but also the Samsung Galaxy Ace, Ace 2 and Blackberry Curve 9320, which are equivalently priced.
Maybe Microsoftâ€™ strategy of selling cheap Windows Phone 7.5 handsets along side more expensive Windows Phone 8 handsets has some life to it after all.
Amazon UK is going to sell ZTE Tania Windows Phone devices for just Â£99.99 on Amazon Lightning Deals. The device has aÂ 4.3 inch screen, 5 megapixel camera and 1 Ghz processor. It comes with 4GB internal storage as well. For those who are looking for a spare mobile, its a great deal to make use of.
It is one thing to hear analysts say Androidâ€™s best growth days may be over, but it is another to hear it directly from a company who are putting their money where their mouth is.
At the launch of the ZTE Tania in China ZTE Executive Vice-President He Shiyou said:
"The market share of Android-based phones has almost hit its peak, while the Windows devices have been gaining momentum since the fourth quarter of last year."
He said the move to Windows Phone was part of their overall plan to diversify their line, and that they expect to sell 30 million smartphones this year, 10% of them Windows Phones.
ZTE is current the worldâ€™s 4th largest phone manufacturer and will debut the ZTE Tania V965W this month in China, joining 5 other Windows Phones from HTC and Nokia.
"The Windows devices have been given a warm welcome in the Chinese market since March," added Tommy Wen, vice-president of Microsoft China Co Ltd, at the same launch on Friday, saying he expected handsets from Samsung to join the party also.
He also said Microsoft is currently discussing the possibility of creating an alliance with the world’s biggest WCDMA network operator, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd, to collectively promote Windows Phone devices.
Unwiredview reports that the ZTE Tania may be less than 10 days away from shipping in China.
ZTE sales director Wei Xiaodong told CNMO that the Tania will be in Chinese stores before the end of this month.
The handset from the Chinese company has so far only been distributed in UK and Europe.
The smartphone will see an interesting specs update prior to its release there â€“ instead of a 1 Ghz processor it will now sports a 1.4 Ghz processor â€“ an interesting choice when the handsetâ€™s main weakness is its 4GB storage rather than the more generous 8 GB or 16 GB.
The handset will otherwise retain its 4.3 inch screen, 5 megapixel camera and 512 MB RAM, and likely run the latest version of Windows Phone Tango.
WPDang reports that the ZTE Tania, currently on release in Europe and also apparently heading to USA, will also soon make its way back to China.
The handset, rebranded â€œZTE V960Wâ€, is expected to cost around 1,250 CNY (198 USD), competing directly with the Nokia Lumia 610, which costs 1,600 CNY.
ZTE also has another Windows Phone in China, the ZTE Orbit, which features NFC. WPDang speculates that this handset may get a RAM cut to the low-end Tango spec of 256 MB to cut costs and make it more price competitive.
China has recently overtaken USA as the largest smartphone market, but remains extremely price sensitive, meaning if Windows Phone is to win any significant market share there it remains very important to compete on the low end.
The majority of ZTEâ€™s smartphones run Android, but Cheng told CNET he prefers Windows Phone over the Google OS.
"In my personal experience, the iPhone, of course, has a well-polished user interface experience," Cheng told CNET. "And then Windows, and then Android."
ZTE currently have 2 Windows Phones in their stable, the ZTE Tania and the ZTE Orbit, currently being sold in China and UK.
Cheng said it was difficult to convince Microsoft to allow them to make the low-end Windows Phones they needed to compete in the market. With the help of Nokia Microsoft did however come round in the end.
"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."
Cheng said he believes Microsoft’s mobile OS has all the elements to be successful in the market.
"Fundamentally, for the health of the ecosystem and industry," he said, "we need a third operating system.
Virgin Mobile is giving away a ZTE Tania, their newest Windows Phone, on Facebook, and all one needs to do to be in with a chance is answer their simple question â€“ which OS does this Windows Phone 7.5 handset run?
It seems the ZTE Tania will no longer be the cheapest Windows Phone you can not buy.
Pocket-lint reports the low-end cheap and cheerful Windows Phone will soon be on sale on Virgin Media network for Â£199.99 on Pay as you Go, or from Â£17.99 on contract.
The low cost contracts will make the device quite attractive for those who want to get into the smartphone game, costing around half of the iPhone, without the Â£199.99 upfront cost.
The ZTE Tania is not a bad handset, despite the price, offering a 4.3â€ TFT LCD screen, HSPA+ data speeds, and a 1.0 GHz single-core processor. The phone has a new 5-megapixel rear camera, no front-facing camera, and is mainly hampered by a low 4 GB of on board storage and a relatively poor screen.
The ZTE Tania is slowly making its way around Europe, and has now arrived in Sweden. The handset is now available retail stores like Elgiganten (Owned by British Dixon’s Retail) and Electro World unlocked for 2990 Swedish krona, which is about 339 Euro.
While the 4GB handset is barely cheaper than the Samsung Omnia W, which retails for around 360 Euro and has a 1.4 Ghz processor, 8GB storage and AMOLED screen, it does have a much larger 4.3 inch screen, the only Windows Phone of that size available in the region.
One cant help but feel the rather attractive handset would have been hugely more competitive if it only had an extra 4 GB of storage.
Clove UK has announced that the ZTE Tania is now available to pre-order at their online store. The handset will retail for only Â£208.33 without VAT or the more usual Â£249.99 including VAT. That is a full Â£50 cheaper than the Nokia Lumia 710 which will buy you a much larger screen and thinner device, but of course likely poorer build quality, a poorer screen quality and a truly miniscule 4 GB of storage space.
The ZTE Tania has been announced for distribution in the UK. The budget handset will be available on Go Mobile, Virgin Mobile and possibly Expansys or Phones4U and will be on sale for only Â£10-Â£20 on contract , which is a great price for a 4.3 inch screen, 5 megapixel camera and 1 Ghz processor.
The handset also comes with mobile hotspot enabled from the start, something TechRadar notes even the Lumia 800 did not manage.
The handsetâ€™s main defect is the non-expandable 4 GB storage, with only 2.5 GB available to the user, but reviewers note the screen is also of pretty low quality, but that is rather to be expected from a budget handset.
Slashgear notes the camera is pretty reasonable (right), and the 1400 mAh battery managed to last a full day on default settings.
Leila Martine, director of Windows Phone UK, told Pocket-lint: "Having ZTE join the Windows Phone family is great news. Their expertise will be crucial in delivering Windows Phone to new and different customers. We look forward to continuing and developing our relationship with ZTE in the future".