updated 11:20 pm EST, Tue February 28, 2012
ZTE Orbit first Windows Phone with real NFC
ZTE has confirmed that the Orbit should be the first Windows Phone with NFC. Both the booth display and zpokespeople confirmed both to The Verge and Electronista that it would have the short-range wireless when carriers ask for it. Specific use cases weren't outlined, although providers' requests could point to mobile payments.
Microsoft did say that Windows Phone 7.5 had a form of passive support for NFC. Developers could include the chipset and build their own native apps to access it, the company's Greg Sullivan said. However, Microsoft itself hadn't written any explicit OS or app support so far.
On our own searching through the phone, the only unusual elements were "zBig Boss Settings" and "zStart KITL," which could just be pre-release prototyping.
The Windows developer has already mentioned NFC support coming in 2012. That timeframe is now believed to have been narrowed down to the Apollo release that many refer to unofficially as Windows Phone 8. ZTE itself has referred to the Orbit's version of Windows Phone 7 as the long-rumored Tango 2 update and would leave nothing but Apollo left for this year.