Microsoft talks ‘spring’ Windows Phone 8 update, adds LG and Lenovo as hardware partners

Daniel Bader

February 23, 2014 9:30 am

Though Microsoft isn’t going whole-hog on the announcements today, they’re giving a bit of a preview of what’s to come this spring. In addition to letting users know that Facebook Messenger is coming to Windows Phone over the next few weeks, Joe Belfiore, overseer of the platform at Microsoft, announced that new hardware partners are coming aboard.

LG and Lenovo are two of the nine new hardware partners announced for 2014; the rest, Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava (Xolo), Longcheer and ZTE, are not well known in North America, but are “leading brands in China, India and Taiwan.” LG was an original partner, responsible for one of my favourite Windows Phone 7 devices, the Optimus 7, but did not release a WP8 device when it was announced in 2012.

Windows Phone 8 will also be scaled for lower-power Qualcomm chipsets, including the Snapdragon 200 and 400, which support LTE but don’t cost as much to distribute. The platform is also going to be updated to support on-screen buttons (soft keys, in Microsoft’s nomenclature) and dual-SIM. The former feature means that OEMs will be able to use existing Android hardware designs and transplant Windows Phone onto them, something that will not only speed up lead time to market, but manufacturing costs and support.

Windows Phone 8.1 is coming ‘this spring’, likely at Microsoft’s BUILD developer conference in San Francisco.

SourceMicrosoft

  • ambleThought

    Another LG phone? Shucks I just ended my 3 yr contract on my LG Optimus piece of brick that M$ decided to not support after 1 yr. Almost $1000/yr for a DEAD PHONE for the past 2 years. M$ and LG you deserve each other.

    • FunkyMonkey

      you could’ve sold it, and got a different phone, just saying’

    • St. Misery

      Unfortunately the resale value on that phone dropped to under $100 the minute it left the store.

    • Dimitri

      LG Optimus does not sell as much as you would think. You might get $50-$100 from it IF that at all.

    • FunkyMonkey

      i know i’m blaming the victim here, but why would you get that phone on a contract? I don’t mean to say you should get an iPhone or galaxy hands down, but if you are locking yourself up for 3 years, might as well get something you won’t be disappointed by… No?

    • blzd

      That was actually one of the better launch devices as mentioned in this very article.

      That single core phone ran a smoother interface than any competing Android phone at the time due to WP’s GPU acceleration and low system requirements. Things have changed a lot since and at least Nexus/GPE devices have equally smooth interfaces.

    • Tom

      WP7 could’ve succeeded if not for Android 4.0 introducing proper hardware acceleration and thus smooth scrolling. Gingerbread was just awful and WP7 actually looked rather tempting for a bit.

    • ambleThought

      At the time I was planning on developing for the Windows 7 platform so I got the phone to ‘try it out’. A mistake in my opinion to go on contract but as a small developer I had no choice. Sure I could blame Telus for a 3 yr contract I could not get out of. I could blame LG for taking a leap of faith with M$ to support their new platform. But ultimately I blame M$ for not supporting their WinPhone7 OS longer. Who would buy this phone after M$ announced WinPhone8 and ended all store, apps for WinPhone7 at the same time? At the time the WinPhone ecosystem was only 1 yr.

  • Rich

    I’m not in love with Android by any means, but I just don’t grasp any sort of reason why you would buy a Windows phone over the value packed “best bang for your buck” Android devices.

    Although, Nokia sure made it tempting with their camera and offline GPS.

    • Mythos88

      To each their own. Windows Phone is a better value than Android because even the entry level devices are buttery smooth. Plus many find Windows Phone UI better and the Lumia 1020 has the best camera for those who find that important and they also great accessories and styling, etc. And Windows Phone is spyware/malware free and does not come with any uninstallable bloarware. Just a few reason why people choose WP.

    • Tom

      Yeah, I’m an Android guy, but I have to admit I’m very impressed by WP’s performance on low-spec devices. Android is buttery smooth on my Nexus 4 but the same can’t be said for my old LG Optimus 2X (even with a custom ROM). I recommended the Lumia 520 to some friends and cousins looking for bargain-basement brand new smartphones so that they wouldn’t be fighting lag all the time. Of course, the Moto G has changed the game…

    • RobPilates

      I spent my six months in hell with Android devices- One X and N7 and both are pieces of garbage. Got a Lumia 710 for $240 OFF CONTRACT from Rogers and have never looked back. 710 to 920 to 620 to 1520 thanks to Omega in Edmonton. Windows Phone is a constant breath of fresh air.

    • Tom

      You have to note that in regions outside North America, phones that may be “best bang for your buck” may cost a fortune there, and that’s not even taking earning power into account. For example, in Brazil, a country where the average income is 1/4 that of the US/Canada, the “cheap” Nexus 4 had a launch price of $800 USD. The low-end market thrives in those regions, but as we all know, Android’s performance is terrible on low-end specs, especially with an OEM skin on top (Kitkat is going to alleviate this, but it’s not widely distributed yet). In comparison, WP8 is better optimized and never allows OEM skins, so phones like the Lumia 520 look like terrific value compared to equivalent droids, and thus sell very well in emerging markets.

      In markets where high-spec’ed Android phones are relatively affordable, such as in North America, then WP loses its advantage. Samsung Galaxies and iPhones dominate the high end, and Google disrupted the low/mid end with the Nexus and recently the Moto G.

  • mdram

    I’m probably in a minority here, but I’d love to see an updated portrait slider w/hardware keyboard like the Venue pro…

  • crocop24

    LOL Windows phone…hahahahahaha. What a joke. Kill the line already.

  • blzd

    Wow almost 4 years since LG’s last WP handset I didn’t think they would be making a return.

  • crocop24

    1020…LOL. Tried that phone for 1.5 days and tossed it asap. It is laughable.

  • crocop24

    Why would I want 6 months with that piece of crap?