Asian rumour site Digitimes reports today that despite Microsoft’s efforts Chinese OEMs were still reluctant to release Windows Phones this year.
Despite the OS going free and Microsoft releasing a reference platform based on Qualcomm processors, OEMs were still concerned about time and increased costs with supporting the platform vs Android.
According to their sources OEMs complained that the use of peripheral chips and some key components for product differentiation also built up production costs, offsetting the benefits of free licensing from Microsoft.
The statement suggests that while making Microsoft’s bog-standard reference Windows Phone may be simple, as soon as OEMs stray from that path to differentiate their handsets, such as different cameras, sensors and screens, their options are immediately more limited and supported components from suppliers more expensive.
The news suggests that despite sporting 17 OEMs we may not see the flood of Windows Phone 8.1 handsets that we have been expecting this summer.
This of course remains a chicken and egg situation – until more OEMS support Windows Phones suppliers will not put in the effort to support the platform, a cycle which I suspect will need concerted input from Microsoft and their mobile subsidiary to correct.