Barcelona – Today, Microsoft announced a new reference design hardware sample for potential OEMs and ODMs. The move, in conjunction with reduced hardware requirements like front facing keys, will allow new manufacturers to easily jump on board with Windows Phone.

A new site ( that just launched will allow any potential manufacturer to view and review key component and design details based off of the Qualcomm reference design. The move is certainly bold, as Microsoft is now actively courting all hardware device makers to get on board with Windows Phone. To sweeten the deal, Microsoft has made the OS more universal across hardware, allowing OEMs to ‘recycle’ their Android phones by simply putting on Windows Phone instead.

While the move may sound desperate, it’s evidently paying off, as Microsoft did announce new Windows Phone hardware partners, including:

  • LG Electronics
  • Lenovo
  • Huawei
  • ZTE
  • Samsung
  • HTC
  • Karbonn
  • XOLO
  • Longcheer
  • Gionee
  • Foxconn

Nick Parker, corporate vice president of the OEM Division at Microsoft had this to say about the news:

“We are pleased to add these new partners to our expanding Windows Phone ecosystem. They will be key contributors to continued growth across price points and geographies for Windows Phone,”

Most of those companies are not familiar to Western markets, but combined with new Qualcomm chipset support for Snapdragon 200, 400 and 400 LTE, this will enable Windows Phone to dive into the low-end market in emerging countries like India and especially China.

Likewise, Dual SIM support in the forthcoming Windows Phone 8 update, due this spring, was also announced.

Windows Phone 8.1 was only referred to in passing as coming this spring, with more details being announced at a later date. One thing, though, is clear: Microsoft is taking their approach to Windows PCs and stretching it to Windows Phone. That will reduce barriers for OEMs and make it easy for companies to get on board without previous restrictions. 

Source: Microsoft Press