New Windows Mobile player ZTE to take on HTC

Mobile analyst Ovum reports that ZTE, a large and rapidly growing Chinese mobile phone ODM who shipped 50 million phones in 2008 (up from 15 million in 2006), are moving into the smartphone market, and will be primarily focusing on Windows Mobile handsets.

ZTE is a clear leader in TD-SCDMA devices in China and plan to expand abroad by catering very closely to carrier’s requests and leveraging its huge technical resources and scale to drive high-end functionality across the handset spectrum.

ZTE is the clear global number six handset provider by volume, Ovum indicated, with co-branded handsets under Vodafone, Telstra and Reliance, as well as China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. In China ZTE is a front runner in 3G devices and a clear leader in TD-SCDMA, owning more than 30% of the total market.

To date, its overseas 3G activities have focused on the buoyant market for USB modems for laptop PCs. ZTE is said it is now on track to ship over six million such devices by the end of 2008 and which it expects to expand to around 20 million by the end of 2010, despite the rapid emergence of embedded 3G modems, according to Ovum

ZTE will begin shipping Windows-Mobile-powered devices with Vodafone next year and there are signs of other such deals. Indications are that these will seriously undercut similar devices from other manufacturers, as a result of ZTE’s scale, Ovum stated.

HTC is ZTE’s main competitor in this segment, but of course is actually smaller than ZTE when it comes to the overall scale of operations. ZTE hopes its scale and commitment to Windows Mobile will help it succeed and build commitment for the platform where smaller rivals like E-ten and Inventec failed and even bigger rivals like Samsung and Motorola who did not truly expand the market due to not fully embrace the platform.

ZTE will still make Linux devices on request by operators, but considers the new open source Symbian to be still too dominated by juggernaut Nokia

It would be interesting to see a large scale deployment of Windows Mobile devices not from HTC, who dominates the landscape and could certainly see some competition on price, something which ZTE is promising.

Read more in this Digitimes article.