Microsoft shows off a range of new Windows Phones at Computex

Microsoft returned to the massive Computex expo in Taiwan this week, and today the company showed off some of what its hardware partners have been working on in recent months, including devices that will soon be available around the world. Among them were various Windows devices - some already revealed, and some not - but Microsoft also took the opportunity to display some new Windows Phone handsets on the way. 

One of two new hardware partners that were revealed for Windows Phone last month was Blu Products, a company based in Florida, and with a large customer base across Latin America and parts of the United States. Blu revealed a teaser of its first WP handset a few weeks ago on Facebook. 

Today, Microsoft's Nick Parker (Corporate Vice President, OEM Division) gave a brief glimpse of two new Blu Windows Phones, including the 5-inch handset shown above. Info is light on both devices at the moment, but one interesting detail that some may appreciate is that the device pictured here appears to have physical Back/Start/Search buttons, rather than on-screen buttons, which many Windows Phone users oppose.

Launching in the US and Latin America later this year, the extraordinarily bright and vibrant colours pictured here are sure to make the device stand out in a crowd! 

Another Windows Phone making its debut today is the Prestigio MultiPhone 8500 DUO above which, alongside the Blu device, is much less ostentatious. Microsoft announced back in April that Prestigio would be joining the platform, and the 8500 DUO appears to be the same device that was leaked last month

Neither Microsoft nor Prestigio have yet confirmed the handset's specs, but according to the leak, it will feature a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, 8MP rear camera and HD (1280x768px) display. It will be available in Europe from next month. 

Parker also showed the Billy 4.7, a device which its manufacturer, Yezz, named after Bill Gates (!!). The Billy 4.7 will include a quad-core Snapdragon processor, 13.1MP camera and 4.7-inch IPS LCD with HD (1280x720p) resolution and Gorilla Glass 2, all squeezed into an incredibly slim body that's just 7.2mm-thick - even thinner than an iPhone 5s. It will be priced at $249 USD / €229 EUR, and will soon be available in Europe, Latin America and the United States. 

The Yezz Billy 4.7 will be joined by a smaller model, the Billy 4.0, which will include a 4-inch display, 8MP camera and a quad-core processor, for just $139 / €129. Both devices will be sold exclusively through Amazon.

Parker also added InFocus to the increasingly long list of manufacturers that have committed to the Windows Phone platform, and showed numerous Windows Phone prototypes and reference designs from ODMs such as BYD, Compal, Pegatron, Quanta and Wistron, which these companies will soon bring to market with other brands. 

Many brands that had previously given Windows Phone a wide berth are now welcoming it with open arms, after Microsoft's announcement earlier this year that it was dropping licensing fees for the OS

Images via Microsoft

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They look interesting, though none of them seem to have a camera button, which is a pity. I hope at least Microsoft will keep the dedicated camera button on their new phones!

I think the strategy is attack where you see inroads. Consumers looking to crossover to Windows Phone have shown they do so by sticking their toe in the water at the low price point. Example: 52x series.

As Windows Phone gains marketshare, I think you'll see more manufacturers creating high-end phones. Besides, you don't need high CPU power for Windows Phone, so "high end" means screen and camera... like the Lumia 1020.

For whatever reason, high-end models haven't really sold all that well. The Lumia 1020 for example has a tiny fraction of market share of all Lumia phones... even though it's a fantastic piece of hardware. All the volume is in the low end, with the Lumia 520 comprising the largest number of shipping Lumia phones sold.

ACTIONpack said,
Where are all the high end models? I only see mid range.

I've read a number of places that the high end is slowing down, and WP sadly has never competed well there. Entry level to mid-range? It does much better globally, so it makes sense to see these new phones in that range.

As I understand it, the majority of the world buys their phones full price, and shops around for a plan they like (versus getting a contract and subsidy). This means lower priced phones are at an advantage, sales-wise. That's why one of the new Lumias has two SIM slots - you can use one carrier for talking, and the other for data, texting, whatever. Its far more competitive in other countries than in the US!

I think Windows Phone SHOULD be competing well at the high end... there's really no question high end Windows Phones have some of the best cameras around. And 8.1 closes the feature gaps in other areas. And given many of the subsidies and "sales", it seems ridiculous that they don't sell better.

x2, why would you buy a Windows Phone that isn't a Lumia? All the Nokia extra's are the only thing that make Windows Phone worth buying!

I'm interested to see if they'll remain Nokia extras for long though.

I mean, it seems wrong that Microsoft suddenly has all these cool extra features to use in its own phones that OEMs can't.

When Nokia was a separate company that was fine, but now it's all Microsoft that won't fly for long.

Look at Surface, there's nothing special about the Windows installation on it (other than it doesn't come with crapware), the value is in the hardware.

I'd expect (and hope) Microsoft will begin rolling all the Lumia extras into the basic Windows Phone OS later in the year, and maybe even open up the apps to all Windows Phones even sooner.

Then all these non-Lumia phones suddenly become a lot more attractive!

'cuz MS own it right now, and they can make them available for all Windows Phone.

Sicarius123 said,
x2, why would you buy a Windows Phone that isn't a Lumia? All the Nokia extra's are the only thing that make Windows Phone worth buying!

Blu has a striking resemblance or a mashup of HTC's One/8X/8S, love the vibrant color. On the other hand, Prestigio reminded me of Samsung Focus. And finally, Parker seems to be competitive with low/mid-range WP such as the 520/530/620/630/720. Billy 4.0 with an 8MP and quad-core processor and priced at $139 is not bad at all.

It is interesting to see how these new OEM partners drive the sales and overall market share of WP OS.

calimike said,
Is it Lumia's successor?

What? They're not from Nokia/Microsoft, then how can they be? Microsoft is just giving these lesser known hardware vendors some PR leverage.

Mohitster said,

What? They're not from Nokia/Microsoft, then how can they be? Microsoft is just giving these lesser known hardware vendors some PR leverage.
The term "successor" doesn't mean it has to be from the same company. It just means that he believe this phone (Which exactly? Probably the Blu or the Yezz.) is here to take the Lumia's place.

Two of the designs above(first and last) shows how beautiful Windows Phone looks in a well design shell. Quite excite about these products.

techbeck said,
You mean the one with the thick black bezel/border
Yes, he called it by its name, as is pretty obvious: the Billy. It's a handsome phone, with the color and the way the hard buttons are spaced at the bottom.

I myself prefer the brightly-colored Blus, though. Wish something would come to Sprint... anything at least.

I don't care about the colour of the bezel, but I agree it should be thin to non-existent. Phone is too large for the size of the screen otherwise.

Not many manufacturers doing this... LG G2 and G3 are the only examples I can think of.