Lenovo confirms Windows Phone 8 handset plans

JD Howard, vice president of Lenovo's Mobile Internet and Digital Home unit, confirms it is planning for a Windows Phone 8 device and, if approved, there's a "good chance" of a 2013 release.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

LAS VEGAS--A senior Lenovo executive has again reiterated the Chinese company is planning for a Windows Phone 8 handset and, should the plans be approved, consumers have a "good chance" of seeing it released this year.

JD Howard, vice president of business operations & worldwide business development at Lenovo's Mobile Internet and Digital Home (MIDH) business group, told ZDNet Asia in an interview here Wednesday that as a device manufacturer, the company will go where the market leads in terms of deciding which operating system (OS) to include in its handsets.

Android is currently "very solid" and Lenovo is riding the OS' success with the latest portfolio of six phones it unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), including its flagship K900 smartphone and the enterprise-ready IdeaPhone P770, he said.

However, Howard said should consumers be concerned over any possible security vulnerabilities in Android OS, or that the phones are made in China, the security features in Windows Phone 8 should help mitigate many of their fears. This is why the MIDH unit has put in a proposal to develop smartphones running Windows Phone 8 OS to the management, given that it is Lenovo's planning cycle now. He said its fiscal year ends in March 2013, and any concrete decisions will only be known in April.

That said, should the management give the greenlight, there is a "good chance" consumers will see a Lenovo-branded Windows Phone 8 handset in 2013, the vice president stated.

News of the company's plans to produce a Windows Phone handset proved premature in 2012, when online news site ChinaTechNews.com reported in June the company will launch the device last autumn.

Rival Huawei Technologies on Tuesday unveiled its own Windows Phone 8 phone--the Ascend W1--at CES. The Ascend W1 is 10.15mm thin and features a 4-inch 480x800 LCD screen with OGS technology. It is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.2GHz processor and Adreno 305 graphics processing unit (GPU), the company stated. 

Ascend W1
Credit: Huawei

The Ascend W1 will be available in China and Russia from January 2013, followed by western Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and other selected markets, it added.

Kevin Kwang of ZDNet Asia reported from the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas, United States.

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