It may have been the third runner-up in global market share last year, but ZTE isn't content to just sit down and keep quiet in its new position. Speaking to Reuters, CEO Cheng Lixin mentioned his company wants to push LTE devices out to the States during the second half of the year, and introduce phones blessed with Windows Phone's Mango update in early 2012. We're already expecting an LTE-based tablet from ZTE in this same timeframe, but are unsure of what handsets may pop up between now and then.

With thriving markets like LTE and Windows Phone, the Chinese manufacturer has a golden opportunity to grow right alongside them. But as hopeful as we'd like to be about the whole thing, let's not take Lixin's announcement as a guarantee that his phones will end up on AT&T's and / or Verizon's 4G lineups specifically -- while they'll be the only national players using LTE this year, MetroPCS already has a history of working with ZTE and could swoop in to pick one of its phones (or tablets) up. No matter where they land, we want these phones to be blazing fast.

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ZTE plans to launch LTE devices later this year, Windows Phone in early 2012