Mobile World Congress 2014 kicked off in Barcelona yesterday. One of the first revelations at the conference was from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which will be pushing its Windows Phone OS even harder in China, India, and across Asia in eleven new tie-ups with homegrown phone-makers in the region.
Soon we’ll see Windows Phone devices from China’s Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Lenovo, and ZTE; India’s Karbonn, Longcheer, Xolo and Lava; plus Korea’s LG and Taiwan’s HTC.
Lenovo (HKG:0992) is China’s second biggest phone brand, behind Samsung. But India’s second most popular phone-maker, Indian company Micromax (also behind Samsung in its home market), is noticeably absent from this list.
Some might remember that ZTE and HTC have made WP smartphones before, so they are best described as long-lost friends rather than new partners for Microsoft.
More diverse hardware support
Microsoft’s new OEMs will soon have a greater amount of hardware freedom, reports ZDnet. Microsoft also revealed yesterday that Windows Phone is set to support lower-end Snapdragon 200 and 400 series chip sets, as well as dual SIM slots. Double SIMs in one phone are pretty popular in both India and China. Engadget adds that support for TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA is incoming, meaning that Microsoft’s mobile OS can finally launch on China Mobile (NYSE:CHL; HKG:0941) and work with its 3G and 4G networks.
Android dominates the smartphone scene in China and India, but the new OEMs and wider hardware support should help create more compelling WP smartphones for shoppers later this year.
Windows Phone has already seen a strong start in India, where its second position puts it ahead of iOS.