One of two new hardware partners that were revealed for Windows Phone last month was Blu Products, a company based in Florida, and with a large customer base across Latin America and parts of the United States. Blu revealed a teaser of its first WP handset a few weeks ago on Facebook.
Today, Microsoft's Nick Parker (Corporate Vice President, OEM Division) gave a brief glimpse of two new Blu Windows Phones, including the 5-inch handset shown above. Info is light on both devices at the moment, but one interesting detail that some may appreciate is that the device pictured here appears to have physical Back/Start/Search buttons, rather than on-screen buttons, which many Windows Phone users oppose.
Well, capacitive at least, but it's interesting not to see the trademark Windows Phone 8.1 virtual control icons - on a new device. In fact, reading on through the Neowin piece, it's evident that all three of the new Windows Phones use capacitive controls. The benefits are more screen real estate for content most of the time, of course.
Neowin carries on, regarding the much leaked Prestigio phone:
Another Windows Phone making its debut today is the Prestigio MultiPhone 8500 DUO above which, alongside the Blu device, is much less ostentatious. Microsoft announced back in April that Prestigio would be joining the platform, and the 8500 DUO appears to be the same device that was leaked last month.
Specs aren't available for this yet, but that screen looks around the 5" mark, perhaps a little bigger than the Blu product.
Parker also showed the Billy 4.7, a device which its manufacturer, Yezz, named after Bill Gates (!!). The Billy 4.7 will include a quad-core Snapdragon processor, 13.1MP camera and 4.7-inch IPS LCD with HD (1280x720p) resolution and Gorilla Glass 2, all squeezed into an incredibly slim body that's just 7.2mm-thick - even thinner than an iPhone 5s.
Finally, another manufacturer was added to Microsoft's roster:
Parker also added InFocus to the increasingly long list of manufacturers that have committed to the Windows Phone platform, and showed numerous Windows Phone prototypes and reference designs from ODMs such as BYD, Compal, Pegatron, Quanta and Wistron, which these companies will soon bring to market with other brands.
The flood of licensees is notable, now that Windows Phone is on a level playing field with Android in terms of license fees. Of course, it remains to be seen how many of the new Windows Phone licensees will bring handsets into Western markets - at the moment everyone's waiting for WP 8.1 to be finalised and doing last minute testing, I suspect.