Microsoft's Windows Phone OEM portal aims to make it easier to build a phone

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Coinciding with the launch of the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview release, Microsoft has fully launched, a portal that aims to help manufacturers "bring great phones to the market quickly and efficiently". Previsouly, Microsoft has worked only with a relatively small number of manufacturers, and smaller OEMs have complained that it has been difficult to engage directly with Microsoft.

The OEM portal is intended to address some of these complaints by making the information needed to kick off a Windows Phone device product development project much more readily available. In addition Microsoft has been working with Qualcomm and component suppliers to ensure that "off the shelf" reference designs are available for Windows Phone. By doing this Microsoft is hoping to replicate the success enjoyed by Android over the past few years that has seen a myriad of smaller scale companies (usually Asia based) producing smartphones in relatively small production runs.

Some of the bigger third tier manufacturers have already signed up with Microsoft (Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava, and Longcheer), but with many hundreds, if not thousands, of different companies producing smartphone there's certainly scope for further growth. The issue for Microsoft is now likely to be around commericial viability for any potential products. That's something the OEM portal can do little to solve, rather Microsoft will have to do all it can to drive the volume sales of existing Windows Phone devices.

Windows Phone

The website's introductory paragraph offers a useful summary of the scope of the website:

We want to help you bring great phones to market quickly and efficiently. Through a well-defined end-to-end process, the OEM portal will provide you with the information you need to design your hardware, customize your phones per market, and manufacture them for retail sales.

You’ll be able to get a high level overview of Windows Phone development, register to be a Windows Phone OEM, and begin the process of reviewing and signing licensing agreements. The OEM portal provides detailed documentation and all the Microsoft tools and services you’ll need to create a Windows Phone. So please, take some time to review the materials available now, start the registration process

For the merely curious the website is a potentially interesting source of information. For example, there are details of the Windows Phone 8.1 chassis specification (i.e. the specifications that all Windows Phone devices must adhere too), information on retail and service centre tools, and documentation on how to build a phone image.