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Microsoft Takes Steps To Bolster Windows Phone

Barcelona, Spain — Microsoft announced an expanded roster of smartphone vendors supporting its Windows Phone OS.

During the Mobile World Congress, the tech titan said Lenovo, LG, ZTE, Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava (Xolo) and Longcheer are its nine new Windows Phone partners. They join HTC, Huawei, Nokia and Samsung.

“With seven of the top 10 global OEMs — in addition to some of the leading brands in China, India and Taiwan —  now collaborating with Windows Phone, you can expect to see an incredible new range of devices across screen sizes and price points,” said Joe Belfiore, who co-manages the Windows Phone product team.

Also to encourage a wider range of Windows Mobile phones to reach the market, Microsoft added Windows Mobile support for Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 and 400 series chipsets with options to support all major cellular technologies, including LTE (TDD/FDD), HSPA+, EVDO and TD-SCMA. The change will also support soft keys and dual SIMs. Another benefit of the changes is that “many hardware vendors will be able to use the same hardware for both Android and Windows Phone devices,” Belfiore said.

Also to encourage Windows Phone supplies, the company said it is streamlining the process of building a Windows Phone device by launching the Windows Hardware Partner Portal. The portal gives hardware partners direct access to “the tools and content needed to build and market their Windows Phone devices efficiently and cost-effectively,” he said.

Belfiore also promoted the growing availability of Windows Phone apps, which number more than 240,000 with an average of 500 apps added each day, he said. Recent key additions include Instagram, Vine, Waze and Mint, and the company announced Facebook Messenger will be available in the coming weeks.