Microsoft’s Windows Phone Summit was strictly a software affair today, with the debut of Windows Phone 8. However, the company did mention who would be building the hardware for its new OS.
In addition to Nokia, which is now Microsoft’s premier hardware partner, the first devices will come from Samsung, HTC, and Huawei. Both Samsung and HTC aren’t a huge surprise, since they were also Microsoft’s initial Windows Phone 7 launch partners. Huawei’s participation could signal an eventual greater Windows Phone presence in its home country of China.
Microsoft also confirmed today that existing devices won’t get upgraded to Windows Phone 8, although they’ll get many of the same features in an upcoming Windows Phone 7.8 update. As if to allay fears of abandonment with its upcoming devices, Microsoft said they’ll get updated for at least 18 months after their release (which falls just short of a typical two-year cellphone contract).
When it comes to Windows Phone 8 devices, Microsoft needs to make sure its partners supply a steady stream of new and interesting hardware. One of the biggest issues with the initial Windows Phone 7 release was that the platform kicked off with outdated hardware, and there was nothing new for more than a year (when the Lumia phones launched). If Microsoft wants consumers and developers to take its platform seriously, it will have to get equally serious about demanding new devices at a regular pace.
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