Microsoft has inked a patent licensing agreement with Luna Mobile, a Tampa, Fla.-based maker of affordable Android smartphones.
Luna Mobile designs and produces Android handsets that are intended to rival flagship phones from such device makers as Samsung in quality, but at half the price. For example, the company's high-end Rox V8 smartphone features a dual-SIM design, a 2GHz octa-core mobile processor, an Android Pay-compatible fingerprint reader and a 5.5-inch touch screen that slopes down the sides of the unit similar to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
The Rox V8 will sell with a starting price of $399 in retail when it ships later this year. By comparison, competing 5.5-inch smartphones like Apple's iPhone 6s Plus and Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge routinely retail for over $700 each. Luna's smartphones range in price from $139 to $459.
Although the contents of the deal are being kept confidential—they presumably involve Android patents considering Luna's Android-only mobile product portfolio—the companies said in a June 28 press advisory that Luna will be paying royalties to Microsoft as part of the agreement. "Microsoft is committed to empowering people all over the world to increase their productivity, and that's what this new collaboration with Luna Mobile is all about," said Nick Psyhogeos, president of Microsoft Technology Licensing, in a statement.
"We are very happy to partner with Microsoft, a worldwide leader in the mobile and tablet experience," added Todd Walker, CEO and president of Luna Mobile. "When we launch later this year, we look forward to providing distributors and consumers with the best and most cost-effective mobile devices and technology currently available."
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it had inked yet another patent licensing deal, this time with Jearwon Microelectronics, a chipmaker based in Changchun, China. The agreement, announced during the unveiling of Jearwon's Z1 processor and Zero Pad mobile zero client, involves remote desktop technology. Zero clients, like those offered by Dell and HP, are low-cost, barebones systems for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments that lack storage.
"The Jearwon Z1 CPU has many applications, including integrating it into zero clients, AIO zero clients and tablets," said Huang Wei, CEO of Jearwon Microelectronics, in a June 27 announcement. "Cloud computing and desktop virtualization are the future of computing, and by partnering with Microsoft, we are creating products that have widespread appeal."
About a month ago, Microsoft made news when the company announced that it had sold 1,500 technology patents to Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. As part of the partnership agreement, Xiaomi will preinstall Microsoft Office and Skype on its Android smartphones and tablets.
"This agreement reflects the deep respect Xiaomi and Microsoft have for intellectual property rights," said a Microsoft spokesman in an email sent to eWEEK at the time of the announcement. "The companies are committed to a healthy patent system and standing against the abusive practices we've seen at times in our industry."