First Windows Phone Goes on Sale in China

Microsoft marked its entrance into the Chinese smartphone market this week by unveiling a new device from HTC running Windows Phone 7.5 "Tango."

The HTC Triumph officially went on sale in China on Wednesday. The device features a Chinese-language Windows Phone interface and, much like the HTC Titan sold in the United States, has a 4.7-inch screen and front- and rear-facing cameras. It's also "unlocked," which means the device works on any GSM network and with interchangeable SIM cards.

"No matter which carrier makes the card, the phone will be able to recognize it and send voice and data over the network," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

HTC Eternity
HTC Triumph

The HTC Triumph is "the first of many great Windows Phone handsets headed for China from Nokia and other phone makers this year," according to a post on the Windows Phone Blog. (The blog calls the phone the "HTC Eternity," which the Microsoft spokesperson said is its internal code name.)

Microsoft announced at the recent Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona that it was aiming to grow Windows Phone's potential global user base by 60 percent. To that end, the company said it would expand Windows Phone's language support while lowering hardware requirements, with the goal of appealing to low-end smartphone buyers in developing markets. If successful, the strategy could pay off particularly well in China, which IDC expects to pass the United States this year to become the world's largest smartphone market.

According to a Bloomberg report, Microsoft is counting on the introduction of low-end Windows Phone devices -- some costing as little as 1,000 yuan or $158 -- into China's smartphone landscape to give its platform a boost over the more expensive iPhone and, eventually, over market leader Android.

"We will continue to drive the price down," Simon Leung, Microsoft chairman and CEO of Greater China, told Bloomberg. "Our goal is number one. Having a goal to be number two is not really a goal."

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Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.