Last winter was an exciting time for Windows Phone fans. Microsoft was all up in MWC’s bidness and name dropping like a drunk bathroom attendant. We heard about all of these OEMs that had sworn a blood oath – okay, it might have been ink – to bring forth Windows Phone upon it markets in broad fashion making Windows Phone the envy of all other platforms. That might be reading between the lines a bit, but that was basically the gist of it.
So here we are, almost five months later and we here at the Pocketnow feeding trough started thinking – “Where the heck are all those OEMs we heard so much about?” Don’t get me wrong. There is a product cycle timeline to take into consideration. Every phone out there takes months if not years of R&D from concept to sales floor. So it’s not like we need to be holding hardware right NAO! or anything. But there haven’t even been any rumors or leaks. Just a big old bag of nothing. So we did a bit of Googling and we reached out to all those OEMs to find out what they’ve been up to and we thought we’d give you a little roundup of what we discovered.
We concentrated our search on those OEMs named specifically in Microsoft’s press release: Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer and ZTE. As I mentioned we reached out to the various OEMs and we’ll be sure to update this article with responses as they come in. None have as of the time of this writing, but then to be fair, we didn’t give them a whole lot of notice.
You hear those crickets? No, not the pre-paid cellular dealer. The insect kind. The kind that chirp when no one is around and nothing is going on. Yeah.
Gionee is interesting. Not much as been talked about on its end from a device standpoint, but one day last month, a teaser add showed up on its Facebook page with a peculiar piece of punctuation. “Windows Phone?” it says. That seems to suggest that its operating system won’t be Windows Phone so much as it will be some type of Android skinned to look like Windows Phone. Gosh. Where have we seen that before? Aside from that unoriginal thought there hasn’t been much evidence of Gionee following up on its little bit of Microsoft given publicity. (via Gadgetstouse.com)
JSR is a four year old OEM – a spring chicken if you will who is mainly focused on Qualcomm bearing smartphones in Sri Lanka and the Phillipines. This article suggests that it will be adding more phones to its Innos line of smartphones and will also be adding Windows Phones coming “later”. Later. Yikes. (via armdevices.net)
Karbonn (or as I like to call it, “Spellcheck”) was next in the alphabetical list of OEMs to license Windows Phone. When we last heard from Spellcheck, Managing Director Pradeep Jain said, “We will come out with four devices with Windows-based operating system by the end of May or starting of June in the price range of 6,000-12,000.” If these phones exist (as they were supposed to last month) then Google has never heard of them. I suppose it’s possible, even likely that there were some delays so they just might not yet be here. It has only been an extra month…or two. (via India Times)
Lava (Xolo) – y’all ready for this?
This is a little confusing, because the heading you see above – “Lava (Xolo)” – is exactly how the name appears in the Microsoft press release. But Lava and Xolo are separate companies (I think?) and what’s more, Lava launched a Xolo brand of smartphone. Clearly, copyrights and trademarks are a little fuzzy in India, but bear with us here.
In the same article as the one referencing Spellcheck, Lava International is also cited to be bringing Windows Phone hardware to the masses and having it make up 8 – 10% of volume from the end of July/August. Ok, well it’s the middle of July. 10% of 0 is still 0, so here’s hoping there isn’t an earnings call coming up any time soon.
But wait, Xolo, the company also has a Windows Phone coming out, called the Win Q900S. Another OEM also has a “Win” phone coming out (see below). This phone’s availability is still listed as “prebooking” which also means it’s not out and about yet either. So really there’s just a whole lot of vapor out there from a lot of different sources.
Lava? Xolo? Different? I’ve tried to wrap my brain around this concept, but it escapes me. Maybe some of our Indian readers can help us figure this out. Whatever the case, there ain’t no freakin’ phone at the moment. Of that, I am sure. (via India Times, et al.)
One of the bigger smartphone OEMs announced was Lenovo. Not overly popular stateside, Lenovo is a pretty big deal on the other side of the Atlantic, so this is not small potatoes. A report from Mobile Geeks has the President of Lenovo’s Mobile Division, Lui Jun saying that a Lenovo sticker bearing Windows Phone 8.1 device will be making its way to the masses by the end of 2014. Not exactly a hard and fast date, but we’ll take it. Yay to end of year holiday sales! (via WPCentral)
Now, LG actually entered the Windows Phone rumor mill for a time there. Renders came out from leak-master @evleaks showing off an LG Uni8 phone. But the leaks giveth and they taketh away as @evleaks shortly followed up its tip with a suggestion that this was likely a hoax. Dagummit! (via WPcentral)
I know about as much about Longcheer as there is news about it making a Windows Phone.
ZTE was another OEM churning through the rumor mill. This rumor though has some pretty impressive numbers going along with it. The ZTE Nubia W5 was said to sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 64GB of built-in memory, 13MP camera, and a 45-OMG-hundred mAh battery. Dear Jesus I want this to be real. No leaks on time frame though, so we’ll just have to put a big ol’ question mark on every day of the calendar from here until CES. (via Unwired View)
Finally, we have a dark horse contender – one that wasn’t even named at MWC. Micromax has not only rumored a Windows Phone smartphone, not only launched a smartphone, but it has launched two smartphones. The Canvas Win W121 and Canvas Win W092 both launched in India last month. You know what we call that? A Win-Win. Oh yeah buddy! Did that one hurt? (via Digit - the news. Not the joke. The joke was mine. Boo-yah.)
So there you have it. That’s the roundup of what we’ve seen and heard about the avalanche of Windows Phone devices primed to hit the market any day now. If the list didn’t seem all that impressive, well, that’s because it wasn’t. It was honestly more than we thought it would be in a relatively short time frame since MWC, but it is what it is. Are we surprised by what we found? A little. Are we disappointed? A little. But more so we just need to give it a bit more time to cook.
Five months may be forever in the mobile industry, but it’s nothing in a product cycle. Patience, my young padawan.