Microsoft Gathers Windows Phone Support

The company lines up more OEMs for its mobile phone operating system, particularly in emerging markets.


Apart from launching its new Lumia 640 and 640 XL smartphones at Mobile World Congress (MWC) today in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft is touting its success in lining up more Windows Phone original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Over the past year, the company has helped 25 hardware partners launch 31 Windows Phone devices, said Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft's OEM division, in a March 1 blog update. At this year's MWC, that momentum continues.

"We're welcoming new partners with new devices on new networks with broader global coverage in every region," Parker stated. "At MWC in particular, we've seen a wave of new mobile broadband devices including phones, tablets and notebooks."

Newcomers include KAZAM, a U.K.-based maker of Windows tablets and smartphones. Announced last week, the company's "KAZAM Thunder 450W and 450WL are their two new Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones and they include Microsoft services like OneNote and OneDrive so users can sync files across devices," stated Parker.

Somewhat resembling the HTC One line of Android and Windows smartphones, the 450W and 450WL pack 5-inch touch screens at a resolution of 720 by 1,280 pixels. The smartphones are also sold with a protection plan that covers the bane of klutzy smartphone owners: cracked screens. KAZAM CEO Michael Coombes said in a statement that "all KAZAM smartphones come with free cracked screen replacement, KAZAM Rescue and the extended three year warranty."

Microsoft also continues to make inroads in emerging markets, which are key to the company's growth in the mobile hardware space.

Although the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation may have a ways to go before catching up to Android and iOS, the leading mobile operating systems, IDC's most recent smartphone OS report indicates that Microsoft may be on the right track. Characterizing low-end markets as a growth segment, IDC Senior Research Manager Melissa Chau noted Microsoft's focus on low-cost smartphones.

"With Microsoft bringing ever-cheaper Lumia into play and Tizen finally getting launched to India early this year, there is still a hunger to chip away at Android's dominance," Chau observed in a statement. In 2014, Google's Android OS accounted for shipments of over a billion smartphones, or a whopping 81.5 percent of the market, according to IDC's figures.

India is getting a Windows Phone 8.1 device from XOLO. "The Win Q1000 comes with 1.2 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon Processor and 1GB RAM to ensure quick switching between favorite apps and games without any lag," said Coombes. In the Philippines, existing partner Cherry Mobile will launch the 5-inch Alpha Neon and 6-inch Alpha View.

Acer, meanwhile, is setting its sights on Europe, the Middle East and Africa with a new high-resolution phone. On Sunday, the company "unveiled the Liquid M220 Windows Phone for the EMEA market. This 4-inch 233 pixels per inch (PPI) display, 5MP auto-focus main and 2MP front cameras and elegant design will come to market in April," he reported. In China, Microsoft partnered with K-touch to release the K-touch 5757A, which is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processer, and the K-touch E8 Windows Phones.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...