Microsoft announces new Windows Phone partners, including Lenovo and LG

Microsoft announces new Windows Phone partners, including Lenovo and LG

Summary: Microsoft is poised to become a Windows Phone manufacturer in its own right, but is still managing to add new partners to its roster.

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In spite of becoming a Windows Phone maker in its own right via its purchase of Nokia's handset business, Microsoft is still managing to add new Windows Phone partners to its roster.

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New to the Windows Phone OEM list are Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer and ZTE, according to Microsoft officials. (I'm not sure why ZTE is listed as new, given they were a previous Windows Phone partner. Ditto with LG, which had multiple  Windows Phone 7 phones in market, as a couple of readers recalled. Maybe this is more of a list of new, plus "they're back!" partners.)

These new Windows Phone 8 partners will supplement the existing Windows Phone partners -- HTC, Samsung and Huawei -- according to company officials who shared the updated list at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) show in Barcelona on February 23.

Microsoft execs didn't say when these new partners would be bringing new handsets or designs to market. Nor did company execs say much about Windows Phone 8.1 (codenamed "Blue"), beyond mentioning that "a compelling new update for Windows Phone" is on its way to market. Many of the coming features in Windows Phone 8.1 have leaked to the Web, especially in recent weeks following Microsoft making the software development kit (SDK) for that OS release available to certain testers.

Microsoft is expected to release to manufacturing Windows Phone 8.1 right around the time of its Build 2014 conference in early April and make the OS available to all developers at that time. Users won't likely start receiving the new OS preloaded on new phones and delivered as updates to their existing Windows Phone 8 devices for a month or two beyond that.

Execs did say -- without ever calling Windows Phone 8.1 by its name -- that Microsoft will be delivering more enterprise functionality with Windows Phone going forward. New enterprise features (which Microsoft execs last year said would be coming via an add-on pack), including S/MIME, VPN, enterprise Wi-Fi, extended mobile device management and certificate management, will be part of the coming update, officials said.

The OS will add support for Snapdragon 200 and 400 series chip sets; as well as support dual SIM for partners who want/need it, officials said. Microsoft also is removing previous Windows Phone handset requirements, like physical camera, back and search buttons on handsets, seemingly in the hopes of attracting more OEMs/Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) to build phones that can run a choice of operating systems.

The coming Windows Phone update also will include support for Facebook Messenger, officials said. Leaks have indicated that a separate Facebook app for Windows Phone also may be included along with the OS.

At MWC, officials also said Microsoft now has 245,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store, up from 200,000 at the end of 2013.

Topics: Windows Phone, Microsoft, MWC

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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16 comments
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  • windows phone amazing with 7.8

    Apple rows of icons. Android Widgets and icons. Windows live tiles that can be a live icon with 3 different sizes. I can have 4 family members pictures the size of a icon. on my home screen. Creation of true virus free apps are taking off. Any one need my S4 galaxy. Google even is making apps and feeling the heat love it.
    drewsands@...
  • To Compete with Android, MS must charge OEMs the same

    After MSs Android tax OEMs now pay the same for Windows and Android.

    It took long enough for Gates to realize its not Tom Watson Jr's world anymore
    jnffarrell
    • They are basically

      OEMs pay Microsoft for the patent usage for every copy of Android. That is about the same about as Microsoft charges for a copy of Windows Phone.
      rmark@...
  • Good sign

    Buying Nokia may have been the confidence boost some OEMs were waiting for that the platform will continue
    londan
  • nobody should make windoze phones

    because android is better
    LlNUX Geek
    • Android

      sucks b@lls, and so you do
      markbn
      • Real mature.

        But what would anyone expect from the Microsoft koolaide drinkers.
        DontUseMicrosoftAtAll
        • Well, what would we expect from you?

          I find it amusing how you and you're posse have come to believe that it's acceptable to say idiotic, negative things about MS, but totally immature, or downright wrong for other to say something negative about Android or Google, or to just respond in kind.

          I know, I know - it not like anyone should expect anything different from you Google Kool-Aid drinkers.
          William.Farrel
    • I know you hate choice

      But if Android is universally seen as better, they'll stop making them on the basis of them not selling.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Android is better . . .

      at spying on you. Android is Google spyware. If you want to be part of the biggest spynet in the world, that is the way to go. Windows Phone and iOS will always be safer.
      jorjitop
  • Microsoft announces new Windows Phone partners, including Lenovo and LG

    This will give Microsoft Windows Phone a huge boost. Developers should be jumping on board now if they haven't already.
    Loverock.Davidson
    • I know it's a Sunday

      but surely your satire could have been a bit better! Only a 2.2 for that one and that's just for the "if they haven't already." bit.
      DontUseMicrosoftAtAll
      • Come on, cut him some slack

        LD's main focus right now should be coming up with some new Linux jokes, not Microsoft jokes.
        Smalahove
      • Wow

        Even on Sunday you have nothing better to do than troll articles about a product you hate. You must have way too much time on your hands.
        rmark@...
  • Wait For It...

    Microsoft will soon be releasing a retrofit software package that will allow you to wipe your android and replace the OS with WP8.1. These repurposed android units will see an 85% performance increase and will be capable of running play store apps via Blue Stacks for WP.
    Mujibahr
  • Windows Phones!

    I am happy with my Windows Phones as are those who have purchased Android phones and iPhones! :)
    cmusician