When Microsoft announced that it would purchase Nokia's devices business, there was much speculation that the company would inevitably end up going it alone with Windows Phone. With Nokia's Lumia range commanding about 90 percent of Windows Phone sales – and HTC, Samsung and Huawei left to share the meagre remaining scraps of WP market share between them – some argued that there was little incentive for Microsoft's hardware partners to continue investing in the platform.
But the future of Windows Phone is looking increasingly bright. A few weeks after ZTE committed to launching new Windows Phones, another manufacturer has confirmed that it will do the same. Indian manufacturer XOLO has said that it is working on Windows Phone 8.1 handsets and Windows tablets, with the first devices set to go on sale next year.
Vishal Sehgal, co-founder and director of XOLO, told The Economic Times of India that his company expects its WP handsets to be affordable and priced similarly to its existing Android range: "Pricing of these devices would be no different from the prices of XOLO Android smartphones and tablets. XOLO Windows Phone smartphones would be priced in the $150-$300 range."
Sehgal added, "There is certainly an ecosystem cost attached to the Windows OS, which is higher. But it's an early stage scenario; as time goes by, we believe that it will also get neutralised."
XOLO says that it plans to "launch the first XOLO Windows Phone by early next quarter, which will make us the first Indian smartphone maker to launch Windows Phone in India." In July, Indian manufacturer Micromax – the country's second-largest smartphone vendor – also said that it planned to launch Windows Phone handsets, but has not revealed any further details since then.