Leaked image reveals LG's first Windows Phone 8.1 device, the Uni8 [Update: LG says no]

Back in February, Microsoft announced that it had signed up nine new hardware partners to the Windows Phone platform. Among them were various ODMs that design and build handsets for other brands, but there were a few big names on the list too, including Lenovo, XOLO, ZTE and LG. 

Like ZTE, LG isn't actually 'new' to Windows Phone, having previously offered WP7.x devices. But both manufacturers abandoned the platform when Microsoft hit the 'reboot' button with Windows Phone 8

However, despite Microsoft revealing that LG was once again becoming a Windows Phone partner, the manufacturer itself appeared to have other ideas. Hours after Microsoft's announcement, an LG spokesperson said that the company had no immediate plans to launch any WP devices. 

It now seems that LG was simply playing its cards close to its chest, as perennial leaker @evleaks was sent an image showing a new Windows Phone 8.1 handset from the company. 

The device, which is said to be called the LG Uni8, appears to have no hardware camera button, like the recently launched Lumia 630, and also eschews hardware buttons on the front in favour of 'soft keys' shown on screen. The exact screen size remains a mystery, but the render shows that the handset has some pretty thin bezels, with the display extending closer to the edges than on many smartphones. 

Nothing more is yet known about the Uni8, including when it might go on sale. In early 2013, LG hinted that it might be prepared to launch a new Windows Phone "when there's a significant market for it". While Windows Phone has grown to double-digit market share in some parts of the world, the platform's global share of the smartphone market remains at around 3 percent. 

Source: @evleaks

Update: The folks over at Engadget got a reply back from LG regarding the image. In Engadget's words, the company says "that this isn't a phone that we're going to see released this year", although that doesn't directly imply that the image is inaccurate, nor does it appear to rule out the possibility of it launching next year. 

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