Rumor: Sony and ZTE could launch new Windows Phone 8 devices

Even as Microsoft prepares to begin making its own Windows Phone smartphones as part of its deal to buy Nokia's phone division, the company is still rumored to be making the rounds at other OEMs to see if they would be interested in joining the bandwagon.

The Information website reports, via unnamed sources, that Sony is once again thinking about launching a Windows Phone product. It adds that the phone could be released as early as mid-2014 and that it could use the VAIO brand, which Sony uses for its Windows laptops and all-in-one PCs. 

For its part, a statement from Sony says it "continues to assess" the use of Windows Phone. Sony famously created a prototype for a Windows Phone 7 smartphone a few years ago but the device never entered mass production.

Sony's unreleased Windows Phone 7 prototype, code named "Jolie".

The same story also claims that China-based ZTE could launch a Windows Phone 8 product for the first time next year. ZTE previously made the Orbit, a budget smartphone that ran on Windows Phone 7.5. Update: We previously reported that ZTE had plans to launch a Windows Phone 8 product but there's no word on a specific launch date yet.

A few weeks ago, rumors hit the Internet that Microsoft was considering the idea of offering Windows Phone for free to OEMs, along with Windows RT. If true that could open the door for many more smartphone companies to release devices using Microsoft's mobile OS.

Source: The Information | Image via WindowsPhonehacker.com

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Think of this: If Sony does push through, it will help support Windows Phone after the Microsoft-Nokia deal is done. If Microsoft cannot use the Nokia name, ergo they will have difficulty marketing the new products as they don't sport the Nokia name anymore. Sony is an excellent brand, and they might just do that if ever.

Also, this is what worries me: I want this to push through. But what might kill the idea is the conflict between Xbox and PlayStation.

What do you guys think?

I think MS and Sony are both large enough companies that, despite the Xbox/PS competition, their businesses overlap enough that they have a working relationship and could/do happily collaborate in development and distribution. Carrying grudges rarely makes for good business. MS uses Adobe products, Apple leans on MS for Office, Sony already produces Windows devices... even on the Xbox/PS competition, a large number of games are developed for both systems. It isn't a black and white world.


Like Nokia, Sony was always known for their great hardware products and they still have really good hardware but don't have the software technologies to stand out to be compelling.

With WP they won't have to fight the low ball Android market to be successful and can offer higher end devices to compete with the higher end Nokia devices that are more analogous to the iPhone than cheaper Android devices.

In the 90s, Sony was the 'other' solid durable phone with cool technology. I carried both Sony and Nokia devices for several years. Sony's early earpiece slider phone was tiny for the time and had amazing reception.

This last year in the phone market, Sony tried hard to offer some really good hardware, but couldn't gain traction, even with their 20mp phone.

What little attention the phone got was hurt by Android. Several reviews gave good marks for the hardware but complained about how Android dealt with the imaging side, and even one prominent review complaining of the Android camera crashing all the time, which is not something you want in a product that is marketed towards casual photographers.

I hope Sony can find success with a WP and even gives the Nokia brand some serious competition for high quality camera smartphones. Which outside of Sony, Nokia still doesn't have any serious competition.

ZTE got screwed over by carriers on their first WP, with delay after delay in the planned rollout to the point it was virtually obsolete.
- This is easy to track, go look at when Sprint got the iPhone. This also affected low end and prepay carriers the ZTE phone was designed around, as Cricket, Virgin, etc in the US use Sprint networks for roaming. This is the same thing Apple did with Verizon and the original WP7 rollout that got delayed six months and killed two early WP7 devices, with the HTC Trophy being the only one to survive and get released on Verizon.

Side Note: What is strange is that Apple has done more carrier politics to prevent WP devices from being offered, and while doing this, Samsung came along and smacked them upside the head with Android device sales.

well yes im agreeing for the most part with you. My overall point is this : for all the grieve and criticism MS has with google it's pretty hilarious how they are copying google step by step. Let me explain

1. Google generates massive revenue from data collection via its search engine , email and web services. in the last few months, you see MS beefing up Bing, its maps and web services to penetrate those markets, and chipping away at the giant
2. android starts off in the lower price bracket market, at the point of version 2 and 3, android starts booming in the mid to high tier smartphone market and aggressively get more hardware partners, now with Samsung, LG and HTC, the argument that android growth of cheap phones is no longer the case. The majority of smartphones now, mid and high priced are android. MS is attempting to make WP free because they see that :

1. the open source software is free to use, license costs are avoided for the most part, and Google makes all the core apps, mail, browser etc in house. They gain revenue from data collection, an open developer relationship in regards to apps and ads in apps. premium apps charge a small costs to avoid advertisement.
2. hardware companies, can add their own additions to the vanilla base as they choose.

now having said this, MS is almost doing the same. If they make WP free, it would follow a similar model, data collection, advertisement, and charging for their services similar to Google. Nokia has allowed for low to high end price penetration into developed and developing markets, aka India/N.America/EU which they are targeting. With only one primary hardware company such as Nokia, now you see MS trying to turn to more hardware companies, aka Chinese and Japanese comps for diversification, and competition within/outside their ecosystem in the smartphone markets.

In the end, all the grieve people give Google about how 'evil' they are, its hilarious how MS doing exactly the same thing behind closed doors, only with more attention on Google in regards to Oracle and Apple going apesh*t with parent trolling. Bing, maps, web services, Metro and this convergence of mobile with desktop is exactly what google has been doing the last 2 years or so. MS is also agressively breaking into developing markets, like India similar to Google, especially if you look at the asian countries. Overall, despite the different PR and marketing diffs,and fanboys on both MS and google's side, you'll actually find that the two are converging strategies more and more into the same markets, becoming almost a competing, yet combined commercial force in the national and int arena.

Kaa-Ching said,
well yes im agreeing for the most part with you. My overall point is this : for all the grieve and criticism MS has with google it's pretty hilarious how they are copying google step by step. Let me explain

I'm glad we are finding things we can agree on.


Kaa-Ching said,
1. Google generates massive revenue from data collection via its search engine , email and web services. in the last few months, you see MS beefing up Bing, its maps and web services to penetrate those markets, and chipping away at the giant

This part looks good from your perspective, but it is missing some key things.

There are some differences between the companies, and one's sole intent is to get information to use and sell, the other's sole intent is to sell products and services. If you look at it through 'Apple', they didn't move to their own Maps or move to Bing to 'get more data from customers', they did it to stop Google from leeching data from their customers. (I'll mention a bit more on this below.)

Starting off...

Microsoft was doing online and search and ad revenue before Google existed. This has never really changed at Microsoft. (MSN started back in 1995 and was part of a larger media convergence move.)

Google started out as a data collection company for internet results and before they were well known, this technology was changed to be used for internet information mining. They were using the information they were building for their search engine to take advantage of markets and trends.

Google went on to not only use the information but to start selling the information to 3rd parties, which is where their targeted 'Ad' revenue model came to life and is how they make money. They also still generate a lot of money from smart investments in products and technologies based on the information they data mine and keep for themselves, and they also generate a lot of money from the personal information they directly sell that has NOTHING to do with advertising. (The last two things are less known about how Google uses information and makes money.)

Microsoft makes money from products and services that they sell. Even Hotmail/Outlook is starting to generate more revenue from extended services than advertising.

Bing wasn't started, it is just a revamping of search technologies that come from the early-Vista and MSSQL teams. It is technically a product based off of MSN Search, that goes back to the 90s that Microsoft was no longer allowed to 'extend' because of the EU/DOJ rulings.

Bing does generate ad based revenue, but purely off of search results and not invasive tracking. However, if you follow the Bing numbers, it doesn't generate enough to keep it alive. The few 'ad' companies Microsoft has bought, they have sold off, not wanting to give the impression they care about direct ad revenue.

Even with 'Apps' on Xbox/WP/W8 - Microsoft had a big internal fight about advertising based revenue. It was for the sole reason to be able to offer developers a way to make money without charging fees for their Apps that it exists. Microsoft doesn't make money off the Ad revenue themselves.

Bing is 'kept' alive because Microsoft needs an alternative to Google, as there is not another credible internet search technology and they became distrustful of Google around 2004/2005 when they saw how they were taking and using user information that users NEVER opt'ed into.

Just visiting websites with Google Ads and Google's tracking would build a profile of every user that exists outside of the even their published information they admit to 'collecting'. The same was true of GMail, as just emailing a friend with a GMail address would create a profile for you even if you never used a Google service in your entire life, and then using what was in the email (content/ip address/etc) Google would use their Ads to build an even more robust profile of people that NEVER used Google products. (This is a bit evil.)

With IE7, Microsoft introduced a new set of sandboxing and tracking protection technologies. Firefox announced they were going to implement similar tracking protection.

This is when Google Chrome was born. It was designed to ensure Google could keep tracking users and to this day still does even if you put every adblock extension on Chrome in existence.

So Microsoft isn't trying to 'catch' Google in the way you portray. They are trying to keep Bing alive to keep information away from Google. This also why Apple moved to Bing as well, because even after warning Google and fighting with them on their maps, Google still found ways to track iPhone users.

Apple Maps was created because Google got Apple sued in several countries over the iPhone for tracking user locations and keeping the information, even though it wasn't Apple doing it.

Apple tried to get Google to turn off various data collection from Google search on the iPhone. However, by turning this off, Google was no longer getting the information they wanted and used to make money off of iPhone users. So instead of fight with Apple, they let them go to Microsoft and Bing without any fuss.


Also, Microsoft collects Zero information about you, and even what is collected like your account info, is not used or tracked or aggregated with your web activity or email or stored content. Bing information is only used for search results. All their products like Hotmail/Skydrive are locked tight, with none of your information available to employees or used or sold.


I apologize for the scattered thoughts in this response. I do encourage you to fact check anything I said and find out what Google really does. They make money off of information, not products or services and even when they have attempted to provide services for a fee, they still use the data, which they shouldn't be doing.

**This is anecdotal, but I have watched a Google employee show off what they could query, and it is in ways far more invasive and nefarious than anything the NSA does. They could see what stocks were being talked about across Gmail/GVoice/Searches and even find a person's location and then bring up all their GDrive contents and photos. (There is a reason why Google employees are 'quietly' discharged to avoid media coverage and criminal charges.)

the chances of Sony selling a WP device is the chance of Google selling a WP device. Not gonna happen. It would be a massive whole in the pocket to do that. Let's face it, the only reason Nokia sells WP is because they needed $$ for a bailout and are desperate to please the exex board/shareholders, and MS was a convenient easy fix. A few months ago, when Nokia was in the same position as Blackberry, it was a matter of packing up and selling off their divisions. Then MS comes along with a WP "plan", which was just a desperate attempt for a hardware company to release their product on, and the only reason Lumia's sell is because of the hardware, cheap market pricing and development world focus, aka India. MS has failed repeatedly at hardware releases, the zune , its Kii phone, simply because no trusts the MS brand for hardware / roadmap.
So MS trying to get more companies on board with WP itself is going to be both funny and sad to watch. Now they want to resort giving a closed garden system for free? WOW. Desperate for market penetration much? Afterall, Nokia can also drive their market share so much, before MS needs to diversify with other hardware companies, which simply isn't happening, especially after the 7/7.5 flop that left consumers holding their you know what.

Edited by Don't Feed the Wolfie, Dec 31 2013, 9:16pm :

Kaa-Ching said,
the chances of Sony selling a WP device is the chance of Google selling a WP device. Not gonna happen. It would be a massive whole in the pocket to do that. Let's face it, the only reason Nokia sells WP ...........

Let's not forget that Nokia was ready to create and manufacture Android phones.
I would just classify this piece of news to just rumor. Anyway, doesn't Samsung and HTC manufacture Windows Phone? How is that doing?

over the last few years, Samsung has boomed in market share with android, so much they started grabbing Apples smartphone marketshare. Now you see patent wars going crazy between the two, possibly that could have been the case with Nokia, but hey, they needed a bailout more. The problem is, that MS acquires all the mobile division patents from Nokia, which still leaves Nokia open to attack. Apart from WP, they have next to no revenue/profit being produced. Even ELOP jumped ship, which pretty much explains the side deals and backdoor arrangements going on.

Kaa-Ching said,
Now they want to resort giving a closed garden system for free? WOW. Desperate for market penetration much?

I agree. I mean Google would never do something like that. Give away Andriod for free to gain market penetration. No Google takes the high road for sure and MSFT should be embarrassed to be thinking about giving away their software for free.

Kaa-Ching said,
the chances of Sony selling a WP device is the chance of Google selling a WP device. Not gonna happen. It would be a massive whole in the pocket to do that. Let's face it, the only reason Nokia sells WP is because they needed $$ for a bailout and are desperate to please the exex board/shareholders, and MS was a convenient easy fix. A few months ago, when Nokia was in the same position as Blackberry, it was a matter of packing up and selling off their divisions. Then MS comes along with a WP "plan", which was just a desperate attempt for a hardware company to release their product on, and the only reason Lumia's sell is because of the hardware, cheap market pricing and development world focus, aka India. MS has failed repeatedly at hardware releases, the zune , its Kii phone, simply because no trusts the MS brand for hardware / roadmap.
So MS trying to get more companies on board with WP itself is going to be both funny and sad to watch. Now they want to resort giving a closed garden system for free? WOW. Desperate for market penetration much? Afterall, Nokia can also drive their market share so much, before MS needs to diversify with other hardware companies, which simply isn't happening, especially after the 7/7.5 flop that left consumers holding their you know what.

It is this type of thinking that catches people into thinking these companies don't work well together.

Microsoft and Sony are massive competitors in the gaming console market, but when it comes to computers they have a long and good relationship. Google and Microsoft truly dislike each other, and ironically they both think the other company is pure evil.

As for the comments about low/free WP licensing, you do realize Google already does this, right?

"that it could use the VAIO brand, which Sony uses for its Windows laptops and all-in-one PCs."

I've been longing for this for a pretty long time - pretentious as it may sound but I would love it if I could have the same manufacturer (with the brand name on the products) for my phone and laptop; better yet to add also the tablet and printer

Enron said,
I'd like to see Sony try their hand at a Windows Phone. I hear their Android stuff is pretty good?

Their older sony-erricson walkman phones used to be really good, with exception quality when it came to sound. Their later phones seemed to have lacklustre sound with generic sound chips found on cheaper phones. You're pretty much only paying for the name tag now and it shows with their market share.

If Sony were to come back, and to WP, they'd have to lay claim to the best audio again and not simply bolting bigger speakers on each the side like some have done recently., and maybe they could lend Microsoft an hand at providing some decent EQ and sound volume ability while they're at it.

Windows Phone could use more device manufacturers. Right now, over 90% of WP devices are made by Nokia. They're the Samsung of WP and I'd like to see another company compete with them. New WP8.1 devices from Sony, Samsung, HTC, and ZTE would be great.