Microsoft signs up two more manufacturers for Windows Phone

Back in February, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft announced that it had signed up nine new hardware partners to Windows Phone. At its BUILD conference in April, the company added two more names – Micromax and Prestigio – to that list.

And that list just keeps on growing, as Microsoft has confirmed that a further two manufacturers will soon launch new Windows Phones. LiveSino reports that MS announced the new partners at the Qualcomm Reference Design and Wireless Innovation Summit in China.

The first is K-Touch, part of China’s snappily named Beijing Tianyu Communication Equipment Company Ltd. The company claims to be the third largest mobile phone manufacturer in China, and touts its 700 R&D staff, located in centers around the world, as one of its greatest strengths.

K-Touch also has partnerships with the leading domestic carriers in its home market, including China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, and offers a range of Android devices, many featuring some rather attractive hardware, albeit with fairly middle-of-the-road specs.

The company also has one of the most wonderfully silly taglines we’ve ever encountered: “Kiss face Touch heart”.

The second new addition to the Windows Phone platform is Blu Products. Blu will likely be familiar to our readers throughout Latin America and parts of the United States, particularly in Florida, where the company is headquartered. BLU claims to have sold over ten million mobile devices in 40 markets; this includes many feature phones, but also a surprisingly diverse range of Android smartphones.

Among its latest handsets is the stylish new Blu Life Pure XL, a 4G flagship with a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 5.5-inch Full HD screen and 32GB of storage. The company actually teased its first Windows Phone on its Facebook page a few weeks ago, with the hashtag #BringingYouMoreChoices.

Indeed, the addition of so many new manufacturers to Windows Phone will introduce plenty of new choices, bringing far greater variety and diversity to the ecosystem beyond the four OEMs – HTC, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia – that offered WP8 devices.

Source: LiveSino via LiveSide | second image via K-Touch; lower images via Blu Products 

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Who even knew there were this many phone manufacturers out there? No wonder Android has been eating everyone's lunch. Hopefully this will give Windows Phone a boost.

now that "free" puts WP in the same bucket as android cost wise, what MSFT needs to work on is on delivering something google missed: a customization framework for OEMs based on APIs instead of source code which can survive OS migrations. This will ensure OEMs can customize the OS without impacting performance or battery life...unlike with android. It will also, unlike with android, ensure the phones are upgradeable instead of being abandoned for most thin margin OEMs cannot justify the retrofit of their customizations once they make the sale.

Then OEMs will get what they want and everybody wins:
1) free OS.
2) customizable so they can differentiate it.
3) upgradeable without code changes.
4) remains reliable and power sensitive.

google off course could also do this, but as it is open source, android OEMs can always tack stuff on top in ways they cannot with WP. The reason windows for PCs can be upgraded regardless of where you got it was because MSFT never let OEMs customize it outside of an API approach. This approach is just as flexible but makes the OS easier to upgrade. Can you imagine if android was dominant in PCs? you'd run android update and it would tell you that you had to go to dell for a patch instead and sorry, don't try to do it yourself.

I wouldn't be surprised if WP is now cheaper than Android considering that the latter comes with the cost of bundling Google's apps and paying licensing fees to Microsoft.

Also, OEMs already have access to APIs that ordinary developers can't access which means they can provide customisation (through apps) to differentiate their products.

Not sure you really understand Windows Phone then. The entire purpose behind Windows Phone is the same experience on every device. Microsoft will NEVER allow OEMS to customize the OS like Android has been. Regardless of if they make it easy to update or not. OEMs can include customizations like Nokia has with a better Camera, deeper hardware APIs than what normal developers are allowed to use, etc., but they will never be able to do Android style customizations.

Harrison H. said,
Not sure you really understand Windows Phone then. The entire purpose behind Windows Phone is the same experience on every device. Microsoft will NEVER allow OEMS to customize the OS like Android has been. Regardless of if they make it easy to update or not. OEMs can include customizations like Nokia has with a better Camera, deeper hardware APIs than what normal developers are allowed to use, etc., but they will never be able to do Android style customizations.

With all the backpedalling lately, never say never when it comes to Microsoft.

NO MORE OEM customizations. What there is is enough.

OEMs can put a different default camera app and can pre-load whatever apps they want. OEM apps also have unrestricted API access unlike market apps. It's enough to differentiate with.

I don't want the mess that is on Android.

Your main problem is carriers. As long as they hold more power than either the OEMs and the consumers, the situation is not going to change. Their goal is to push as many iPhones as possible and most of them are clueless about WP.

Sprint, T Mobile, AT&T, Verizon. Is there even anyone left? According to /r/windowsphone, most Verizon reps don't have a clue about Icon. You get laughed and belittled at AT&T for even mentioning Windows Phone. And T Mobile and Spirit hardly stock any Windows Phones.

With how easier MS has made it to become a OEM, OS is free, reference designs are easy to use and so on, I'm not really surprised more OEM/ODMs are going to give it a try. Cost was a factor till now but that's going away, the only other thing that could be a limit is that the OS still only supports Snapdragon SoCs and I don't think MS is going to open it up to others soon but they could.