manufacturers

Microsoft has recently discussed internally somewhat unconventional tactics to help drag Windows Phone up to the level of Android, closing the gap at a faster rate. The Information has had the opportunity to look at internal documentation, which covers numerous scenarios as to how Microsoft planned to compete against Google in the industry. Head past the break for the full read.

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Almost exactly a year ago, Chinese device manufacturer OPPO was rumored to be working on a Windows Phone 8 device that was slated for a 2013 release. If recent images that were posted on Sina Weibo (Twitter's Chinese counterpart) by OPPO’s Social Marketing Director Li Ying Ming are to be believed, then the rumors could be close to coming to fruition. The pictures show what appears to be a mockup (translation: not a real) of OPPO's Android-powered Find 5 running Windows Phone 8.

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It's no secret that Windows Phone owners have endured confusing and frustrating update processes on the platform and while Microsoft has looked at improving the speed and reliability of the rollouts, we're still not quite there yet.

Rumour has it now that the company is looking at revamping the update process once again from the release of GDR2 onwards. Whether or not this is good news remains to be seen.

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After their Windows Phone 7.5 handset, the Allegro, came onto the scene last year with little fanfare, Acer maintained that they were still committed to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. But after hearing nothing but crickets chirping from Acer's neck of the woods in 2013, many of us are wondering if they have wavered in that commitment. As it turns out, the answer is "yes, but..."

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Zhang Guangqiang, VP of Coolpad (R&D division)

News came over the weekend that Coolpad, a Chinese phone manufacturer, will probably join the Windows Phone rank, to sit beside more internationally renowned folks like Huawei and ZTE.

In what seems to be an official news release, Zhang Guangqiang, a VP of the company, revealed that they are aiming to release the first Windows Phone device in the first half of 2013. That’s an awfully long time away, and Zhang doesn’t seem to be totally serious about it (just one casual mention), so let’s file it under rumors for the time being.

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Microsoft has announced on the Windows 8 blog that the next major version of its operating system, Windows 8, has reached the RTM milestone. What does this mean for consumers? Not an awful lot if you're not particularly interested, but it does mean manufacturers are now set to start preparing products in time for when Windows 8 is released to the world (including Microsoft with its Surface tablets).

We previously covered Windows 8 when the release preview was made available to those who wished test Microsoft's latest desktop platform. The Windows team has completed product development and testing, and have now started to hand the code onto OEM partners. The release date for Windows 8 to the general public is still October 26th, so we all still have a slight wait to get through, but we're certain it'll be worth every second.

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Microsoft has supposedly been urged by supporting Taiwanese manufacturers to allow them to modify apps and the Windows Phone UI to better differentiate their handsets from OEM competition on the platform, according to a report by DigiTimes. We recommend taking this 'news' with a whole bowl of salt as they have a mixed track record e.g. their Huawei story was way off, but should the report be based on solid grounds HTC, Nokia and Samsung have seen flat sales in both China and the U.S.

We're aware that Nokia hasn't launched the AT&T Lumia 900 yet and Windows Phone is still extremely young in China so we're pretty skeptical about this report. It doesn't make sense that OEMs would start to suggest to Microsoft that more customisation should be allowed to improve sales as Nokia appears to be doing just fine with marketing campaigns running globally.

Manufacturers can't remain under the "Android Personalisation" craze as Windows Phone is an entirely different flavour of ice-cream. Canadian carriers Rogers and TELUS have also both stated they're pleased with how well the Lumia 710 and 800 are selling, and that the Nokia Windows Phones have hit expectations.

What do you guys think OEMs should do with Windows Phone? More marketing / promotion like Nokia, or should we be allowing them to personalise what they wish?

Source: DigiTimes, via: WMPU

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This certainly wont be surprising to our readers (since we cover the global Nokia marketing campaign regularly) or anyone else who's in the loop when it comes to Windows Phone, but it would appear as though Nokia has grabbed the #1 spot for platform manufacturer marketshare according to Strategy Analytics, which runs alongside developers publishing statistics indication a climb in Lumia 800 usage.

The Finnish handset maker achieved the number one position with 33% marketshare in just four months, since the launch of the Lumia 800 in Europe. The Lumia family of Windows Phones has not only taken the platform by storm but also the world, and to illustrate this design appreciation the 800 received a number of awards at CES 2012.

Check out the chart below for an approximation for Windows Phone OEM marketshare.

Source: Strategy Analytics, via: Engadget; Original Crown image via ShutterStock

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Portfolio Manager for ZTE UK, Santiago Sierra has revealed to TrustedReviews that the reason Windows Phones manufactured by the Chinese company will be more expensive is due to the licensing fees set by Microsoft, which he placed between £20-25 ($30-40) per license. This amount is more than what was believed, without any official fee being revealed. 

We would like to believe the higher cost of the license is justified by certain features of the operating system - including Xbox LIVE, Office, and more. However, it has always been thought that licensing costs for HTC and Samsung to be between £5-10 ($10-15), but this could be due to production volume number discounts, much like what businesses may receive when purchasing multiple copies of Microsoft Office.

This cost may prevent manufacturers (like ZTE) to pump out low cost smartphones, which can be seen with the Tania pricing (almost on par with generation 1 handsets). Let's not forget that Microsoft collects royalties from manufacturers who build Android handsets, which come to around $15 per device.

Source: TrustedReviews, via: The Verge

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Compal to manufacture WP7 phones

Compal Electronics, Inc. CEO, Ray Chen, used today's annual stockholders meeting to make a big announcement: Compal signed an agreement with Microsoft to begin manufacturing Windows Phone devices.  Compal will be an ODM, which means that even though they will build the phones, they will carry the branding of other companies.  The new handsets, which will be made for Acer and Nokia, will are expected to go to market in Q4 of this year.

"Compal will build up a foundation based on the WP7 platform that will enable it to shorten time to market for customized smartphones while expanding the pool of Windows Phone-based clients," said Chen.  The Taiwan-based company joins the ranks of Nokia, HTC, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE, who all have licensing deals for WP7, but is currently the only ODM. 

Source: DigiTimes; Via: MobileTechWorld

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HTC is first to push own ROM update

While NoDo is still in the process of being tested and rolled out across networks, HTC have played a wild card and have began rolling out their own update. While we previously covered the news that Dell is looking to push out their own separate update post-NoDo, but this is the first attempt from a manufacturer on the platform. 

[Edit: Actually, Samsung has been doing it with the Focus for various users too]

According to the information received at TheUnwired, users are reporting that they too are receiving the update while being prematurely on NoDo, so it seems as though ChevronWP7.Updater isn't such a huge problem. This - of course - is an update from HTC and not Microsoft though.

Our own George Ponder has received the update for his Surround (updates the firmware to 2250.09.10307.502) and notices that their is no noticeable change in performance, and no word has been located as to what the update actually add and/or fixes. Could well be simply HTC showing off. Have you received the update, do you notice anything different?

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Samsunholds strong support for Microsoft & WP7 With Nokia deciding to partner up with Microsoft and jump onto the Windows Phone 7 runaway train with other leading manufacturers, one would consider the possibility that the partnership between Nokia and the software giant could enable them to receive favourable treatment over other manufacturers. At worse, this could cause issues including handset makers pulling support for WP7 or doubting their investment because of favouritism (extremely unlikely but worth the minute consideration). Samsung have reiterated that their support for Microsoft and the platform will continue regardless of what may occur (probably because they are selling well). Chief Strategy Officer at Samsung, Omar Khan, explained in an interview at the Mobile World Congress trade show "You can continue to expect expansion in our Windows Phone portfolio." Moving onto say "Anything that strengthens the Windows Phone ecosystem is good for us," which is ultimately true. As well adding more competition within the WP7 device market, an additional handset manufacturer could well increase developer and carrier interests in the platform itself. For now, Samsung will more than likely sit back and enjoy the sales increase for their devices - particularly the Focus and Omnia 7.

With Nokia deciding to partner up with Microsoft and jump onto the Windows Phone 7 runaway train with other leading manufacturers, one would consider the possibility that the partnership between Nokia and the software giant could enable them to receive favorable treatment over other manufacturers. At worse, this could cause issues including handset makers pulling support for WP7 or doubting their investment because of favoritism (extremely unlikely but worth the minute consideration).

Samsung have reiterated that their support for Microsoft and the platform will continue regardless of what may occur (probably because they are selling well). Chief Strategy Officer at Samsung, Omar Khan, explained in an interview at the Mobile World Congress trade show "You can continue to expect expansion in our Windows Phone portfolio." Moving onto say "Anything that strengthens the Windows Phone ecosystem is good for us," which is ultimately true.

As well adding more competition within the WP7 device market, an additional handset manufacturer could well increase developer and carrier interests in the platform itself. For now, Samsung will more than likely sit back and enjoy the sales increase for their devices - particularly the Focus and Omnia 7.

Source: Forbes

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AppleInsider (of all places) has put two and two together figuring out that HTC makes roughly 80 percent of all Windows Mobile devices out there. How they got to that number is they took Microsoft's report of 50 million WinMo devices sold over the lifetime of the platform, and HTC's claim that its has  sold 40 million WinMo devices worldwide= 80 percent.

That doesn't sound too far off the mark (give or take a little) considering that HTC, while only recently starting marketing its devices independently, still makes a large portion of devices for other companies, e.g. Palm's Treo Pro, T-Mobile Shadow, Xperia X1, etc.

Still this begs the question: Is this a good thing for the industry? Sure, HTC has done wonders for WM as it's one of the few companies who continually release new and innovating devices. But generally speaking, are (near) monopolies good for competition? Unfortunately, other companies (including Palm and Motorola) have been unable to launch widely successful Windows Mobile phones or maintain a consistent, innovative lineup (both can be considered one-hit wonders), so in a way HTC is just filling a gap left open by others as opposed to unfair or predatory competition.

But enough pontificating on our part, what say you? Think that number will change in 2009/2010?

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