Umimobile working on a low cost Windows Phone device

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Umimobile, a small Chinese manufacturer producing smartphones for the Indian market, has announced on its Facebook page that it is working on a "low end Windows powered phone" and that it is "coming soon". The post is accompanied by a screenshot of the standard Windows Phone developer registration dialog that is shown when unlocking a phone for developer use.

Umimobile currently produces a number of Android smartphones, including the Umi X1 and X2. The devices, as is typical for small scale Chinese manufacturers, are competitively priced (e.g. a quad core Android device for £163), but do not have the same design or quality pedigree as more established manufacturers.

Umimobile give very little away in the Facebook post, so it difficult to assess how far along the development project is, what sort of device might eventually be released, or how serious the company is about the project. However, it is another example of a small manufacturer showing interest in Microsoft's mobile platform.

As we noted in an earlier story interest from these kinds of manufacturers in Windows Phone is a positive sign for the health of the platform, but it does not guarantee that devices will be released:

It's clear that a number of Chinese OEMs are actively looking at Windows Phone, but that does not necessarily mean products will reach the market. The Chinese OEMs are largely driven by customer demands and market trends. Even so, the fact that manufacturers are considering Windows Phone can, however, be seen as an encouraging sign for Microsoft.

It does make sense that Windows Phone, given Microsoft's active courtship of partners and its multi-manufacturer strategy, would follow a similar pattern to Android in the lower tiers of the smartphone market. A significant portion of Android's growth in 2012, especially in Asia, was the result of shipments of lower cost smartphones by these second and third tier device manufacturers.

It's important to emphasise that it is still very early days. The lack of choice, maturity, and completeness in Windows Phone based reference designs is a major stumbling block. Developments in this area, which could be seen as early as the summer, are the key early indicators, if the Windows Phone platform is to enjoy an Android like manufacturer proliferation.

Via: WMPoweruser

Source / Credit: Facebook