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Monday, 24 February 2014 10:33

Microsoft signs up new Windows Phone partners Featured

Microsoft's Nick Parker and Joe Belfiore at MWC Microsoft's Nick Parker and Joe Belfiore at MWC

Microsoft is out to dominate headlines at Barcelona's Mobile World Conference (MWC), announcing a new host of Windows Phone partners to add to its roster.

The tech giant used its keynote in Barcelona overnight to announce Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer and ZTE would be joining Microsoft's current mobile hardware partners in HTC, Samsung and Huawei.

“We’re open for business on Windows Phone for anyone who wants to build a Windows Phone,” said Nick Parker, Microsoft's OEM Vice President.

Microsoft execs didn't go into detail about new hardware from these partners but did mention that "a compelling new update for Windows Phone" is in the pipeline.

Microsoft said the next Windows Phone update, which will arrive in "Spring" will add search, power and settings buttons to the Start page, along with "ways to make it easier to close apps."

The Redmond-based company also said it would be focussing heavily on emerging markets, though it is making in-roads It experienced 758% year-on-year growth across the Middle-East and Africa, and 148% growth in Latin America ast year.

Windows Phone now has at least a 10% share of six different markets, and outsold the iPhone in 10.

Microsoft also announced it is working with Qualcomm on a basic core of a phone with the necessary processors and wireless chips that developers can start with as they design Windows phones for emerging markets.

“Microsoft can be more healthy by widening our ecosystem,” Microsoft's Joe Belfiore said in an interview. “We care a ton about emerging markets.”

Dual-SIM Windows Phone devices are also on the way.

Microsoft currently only commands about 4% of the global smartphone market, and still trails well behind Apple and Google's Android.

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