When Microsoft formally announced Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco all the way back in June, it revealed that there would be four manufacturers offering the first wave of WP8 handsets. In the weeks and months since then, we've seen Nokia (Lumia 920 and Lumia 820), HTC (Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S) and Samsung (ATIV S) reveal their devices, while Huawei's first WP8 handset has also been leaked, although the company stated in late September that it wasn't planning any formal announcements any time soon.
But behind the scenes, of course, Microsoft is continuing to promote Windows Phone 8 to its hardware partners, some of which are already quietly working on WP8 devices.
ZTE is one such manufacturer, and is no stranger to the Windows Phone ecosystem, having already launched budget-friendly WP7 handsets. Despite not being one of the launch partners for Windows Phone 8, ZTE's head of market strategy, Lu Qian Hao, released an image via Weibo - Twitter's Chinese equivalent - showing an as-yet announced handsets in two colours. Don't be too put off by the old-school Windows Phone logo; that's likely just a symptom of these being development/pre-released handsets.
According to the brief information that he shared, the new device dwarfs everything else in the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem, including the 4.8-inch Samsung ATIV S. Even Samsung's enormous 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II is dwarfed by the new ZTE handset, which has a collossal 5.9-inch display, which the executive claims offers Full HD 1080p resolution.
Since Windows Phone 8 doesn't officially support the 1920x1080px resolution, it could be that the executive misspoke - but a tweet from the usually well-informed @MS_nerd appears to shed some light on this, as well as apparently revealing the name of the new device - the ZTE Blade 8:
The device is also said to include support for DTS technologies for superior audio playback, and according to @MS_nerd, it will also feature new Microsoft-implemented stylus support for certain apps. Pricing and availability information for the Blade 8 are of course unknown at this stage, but China's CNBeta.com reports that ZTE previously stated plans to launch a Windows Phone 8 device in the first quarter of next year.
This isn't the first time a ZTE executive has shared images of upcoming Windows hardware on Weibo; in September, images of a Windows tablet and Windows Phone appeared on the account of the company's phone marketing strategy manager.