Microsoft announces 9 new Windows Phone hardware partners including LG, Lenovo

Microsoft's impending acquisition of Nokia's smartphone unit has led to questions whether the company would be able to work with third-party hardware manufacturers, but those concerns were alleviated today as the company announced nine new hardware partners, including LG and Lenovo.

As part of Microsoft's efforts to expand into new markets, it's partnering with Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE as new Windows Phone hardware manufacturers. These companies join HTC, Huawei, Nokia and Samsung, which Microsoft claims gives it "seven of the top 10 smartphone manufacturers in the world" as partners based on IDC sales figures.

LG's addition as a hardware partner notably comes after the company made Windows Phone 7 devices but declined to be involved in Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 plans. The news also notably comes a year after LG said it had no plans to return as a Windows Phone hardware partner.

In addition to the new hardware partners, Microsoft announced it will support Qualcomm's Snapdragon 200 and 400 processors, allowing hardware manufacturers to create smartphones for a broader array of consumers. Additionally, Microsoft confirmed it will add support for soft keys – virtual buttons instead of the traditional hardware buttons currently found on Windows Phone devices – as well as dual SIM ports. The move allows Microsoft to leverage its platform in emerging markets, as soft keys help lower prices and dual SIM ports allow phones to be shared or used on different service providers.

Soft keys and dual SIM support have long been rumored as part of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 update, though the company didn't officially confirm its existence, just that an update will be released this spring for the smartphone operating system. Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to be announced and released within the next few months.

Source: Microsoft

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28 Comments

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Dell needs to put another DVP with portrait keyboard. ####. None of these bitches will ever do another ####ing slideout keyboard. I am so disappointed at Steve Jobs for starting a stupid slim and onscreen k/b trend.

I had a good experience with my old LG Optimus 7 back in the day. In fact my little sister refuses to upgrade her old LG (crazy I know)

VeganPowers said,
I had a good experience with my old LG Optimus 7 back in the day. In fact my little sister refuses to upgrade her old LG (crazy I know)

I gave my little sister my optimus 7 when I got my 8X. I'll probably give her my 8X when I get something new in the future.

VeganPowers said,
I had a good experience with my old LG Optimus 7 back in the day. In fact my little sister refuses to upgrade her old LG (crazy I know)

The Optimus 7 was my first Windows Phone. I really liked it -- especially the full set of hardware buttons at the bottom!

In the case of Longcheer and JSR, yes. However, what stands out is the addition of Lenovo (who just bought Motorola Mobility from Google) and the return of LG. Getting Lenovo is nothing less than a back-of-the-hand to Google and Android - if we see a Windows Phone 8.1 device - of any sort - with the Motorola branding, it will be far worse.

Romero said,
Longcheer? JSR? What are these, Chinese companies?

Some are Chinese and Indian OEMs, but this is good for one big reason, China is going to be the biggest smartphone market and India isn't far behind. Also WP is off to a good start in India but lagging in China still.

George P said,

Some are Chinese and Indian OEMs, but this is good for one big reason, China is going to be the biggest smartphone market and India isn't far behind. Also WP is off to a good start in India but lagging in China still.

They might be lagging in China but good thing it's not the phones that are lagging.

This is the biggest news of the day IMO. They've done a lot with the 8.1 update and from the sounds of it, the whole OEM process that it's going to be pretty easy for them to bring new WP devices to market. In many cases they'll have little issues with taking an existing android design and just installing WP8.1 on it. They've probably also dropped the WP OS fees like they dropped Windows 8.1 fees on low end devices.

Overall, very good news, Lenovo and LG are in the top 5 smartphone makers.

agreed. to me The WP 8.1 OS + OEM partners list seems like MS is finally catching erup on hardware support and OS features with Android but First party apps and Services stack though is still a weak point.
one a related note, surprised to see Micromax not being in the list they are biggest OEM after samsung. They had said they'll be launching WP devices soon.
http://www.winbeta.org/news/in...ts-first-windows-phone-soon

Very nice! I love seeing good news about Windows Phone, the more phones we can get out there the better the ecosystem will be for all of us.

Liron Hazan said,
WP will never beat the shi* out of android, WP OS is too limited.
android feels more like a computer and WP feels like a castrated one.

Its interesting to see the intellect comments of worms because they think themselves an authority in technology.

Liron Hazan said,
WP will never beat the shi* out of android, WP OS is too limited.
android feels more like a computer and WP feels like a castrated one.

thing is, people want simplicity, they don't want cmplexity.

Liron Hazan said,
WP will never beat the shi* out of android, WP OS is too limited.
android feels more like a computer and WP feels like a castrated one.

why not get one of those phones that have full windows 7 installed? Then you have a full computer.

H3liuM said,
Good to see that, looking for more versatility. Beat the #### out of Android

If Windows Phone 8.1 turns out to be what it has been rumoured to have included along with good long term support (2-3 years) then it has already pulled itself ahead of Android.

If you want a computer, get yourself a lappy what was android when it was first released? ppl barely knew it and OEMs blindly went for it coz Apple was success and OS is somewhat cheaply licensed by Google.