Microsoft pulled the lid off Windows Phone 8, the next significant update to the company’s mobile OS just yesterday and now we’re learning about the devices it’s going to be powering. There were a handful of key manufacturers which appeared on screen at yesterday’s keynote, some new and some returning OEMs, most likely already preparing their next range of own-brand Windows Phone 8 hardware for market.
The jump to Windows Phone 8 was significant for a number of reasons, not all of them positive. In the process of rethinking how the underlying aspects of the OS should function, Microsoft had to cut a lot of back compatibility with Windows Phone 7 and 7.5. As a result, none of the current Windows Phone devices in the market will ever see the full Windows 8 experience. That being said, Windows Phone 7.8 will be there to help ease the pain.
Manufacturers might not like Microsoft somewhat burning their existing Windows Phone customers, but 7.8 is coming to current handsets as a means of at least giving current-gen hardware a taste of what’s to come. On the stage yesterday Terry Myerson went on to explain that presently, four main OEMs have signed up to develop Windows Phone 8 devices; Samsung, HTC, Huawei and of course Nokia. Although both Samsung and HTC had already confirmed they wouldn’t be releasing a new Windows Phone device until WP8 launched, Huawei is new to the party and as such will produce their first handset with Windows Phone off the bat.
LG and Toshiba-Fujitsu were noticeably absent from the roster. It's unconfirmed as to whether they have any plans at all to join the team or whether they’ve hung their Windows Phone hats up for good. LG may not see enough financial benefits from continuing support for Windows Phone, as their current device portfolio is not only small, but saw a poor uptake in sales.
Qualcomm is also returning as the primary processor manufacturer. AnandTech received confirmation from the company that the initial hardware expected to grace the first batch of Windows Phone 8 devices will be the same Snapdragon S4 Plus chip that features in the US dual core variant of the HTC One X on AT&T, an uprated version of the standard S4 found in the HTC One S. As such, we can expect performance and battery life to shine when devices make it to market later this year.