Microsoft, who has been working at low-end cheap smartphones for the developing world for some time, has teamed up with MediaTek, a chipset manufacturer, to create a reference platform for sub-$200 unsubsidized smartphones.
The phones, which will be Chinese 3G compatible, will use system-on-a-chip designs, which will both lower cost and boost performance and will be made available to low cost OEM and ODMs.
The phones are expected to run Windows Mobile 6.x and to use Microsoftâ€™s OneApp cross-OS application platform.
"There is a huge thirst for smartphones in emerging markets. For many people, the phone rather than the PC is the main entry point to the internet, resulting in a high demand for rich communication devices. In order to meet this demand, we have teamed up with MediaTek to facilitate the provision of affordable smartphones," said Daren Mancini, general manager for OEM Mobile at Microsoft in a statement.
Microsoft has been discussing smartphones for emerging markets for some years under the auspices of its Unlimited Potential Group. This has developed a concept called Fone+ – a midrange phone that would also serve as a PC, connecting to a TV to provide a large screen. The same group came up with the OneApp software platform for feature phones in emerging economies last year.
Read more at Rethink-wireless here.