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February 24, 2014

Microsoft Announces Plan to Take Windows Phones Worldwide

Redmond to Partner With Various Companies to Produce Cheaper Handsets for Emerging Markets

Microsoft image

Microsoft is gearing up to go global with cheaper Smartphones in emerging markets.

The Redmond software giant announced at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona Sunday that it is relaxing restrictions on Windows devices, which will permit manufacturers to produce less costly handsets for emerging markets.

As part of it plan to go global, Microsoft is partnering with nine new companies: well known firms such as Foxconn, Lenovo, LG and ZTE, as well as Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava (Xolo) and Longcheer.

Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 620

Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 620

All together, Windows phone partners now encompass 56 percent of the global Smartphone market, according to IDC.

“This is exciting news for phone buyers around the world,” a blog post by corporate vice-president and manager for the Windows phone program Joe Belfiore said.

“With seven of the top 10 global OEMs—in addition to some of the leading brands in China, India and Taiwan— now collaborating with Windows Phone, you can expect to see an incredible new range of devices across screen sizes and price points. And of course we’re committed to delivering this device diversity without compromising the consistent, designed-around-you Windows phone experience our users have grown to love.”

To go along with the more extensive number of manufacturers creating Windows phones, Microsoft announced it is adding support for more Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, including LTE and non-LTE chips. Soft keys and dual SIMs will also be supported “where our partners want it for their devices.”

“One nice benefit of these additions is that many hardware vendors will be able to use the same hardware for both Android and Windows Phone devices,” Belfiore said.

Microsoft is also “working closely” with Qualcomm to aid manufacturers across the globe to build Windows handsets via Qualcomm’s Reference Design (QRD) program.

The software giant’s launch of the Windows Hardware Partner Portal, meanwhile, will hand its hardware partners direct access to the tools and content needed to build and market Windows devices efficiently and cost-effectively.

Belfiore also announced an update to Windows 8.1 is coming this spring.

“We are making improvements to the user interface that will naturally bridge touch and desktop, especially for our mouse and keyboard users,” he said.

“We have a number of targeted UI improvements that keep our highly satisfying touch experience intact, but that make the UI more familiar and more convenient for users with mouse/keyboard. Don’t worry, we still love and believe in touch… but you’ll like how much more smooth and convenient these changes make mouse and keyboard use.”

Enterprise customers can expect enhanced support courtesy of a few small changes such as improvements to IE8 compatibility in Internet Explorer 11.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.