At Computex this past week, Microsoft showed off new Windows Phone 8.1 handset designs coming soon from some of the new partners that came onboard back in February. What's interesting is that none of these new handsets are heading toward emerging markets, and that each is in its own way quite interesting.
As noted in Microsoft Announces 9 New Windows Phone Hardware Partners, New OS Features back in February, Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE signed on to sell new Windows Phone handsets when Microsoft lowered licensing costs significantly. (Like to $0.)
At that time, I wrote that Lenovo and LG were arguably the two big names in the list from the perspective of the US and Western Europe. But oddly enough, the handsets Microsoft talked up at Computex—see Microsoft Touts New PCs, Windows Phones at Computex for an overview—are from some of the other, less well-known companies on that list.
We still don't have a ton of information about the new devices, but what we do know is promising, and it appears that each of these is unsubsidized. Here are the phones Microsoft showed off this week.
BLU 4-inch and 5-inch (Unnamed)
Markets: United States and Latin America
This was the vaguest of the announcements. According to Microsoft, BLU will launch two Windows Phone 8.1 handsets this year, one with a 4-inch screen and one with a 5-inch screen. The devices will be sold in a variety of vibrant colors, and the 5-inch version in particular looks very similar to the original HTC One, in my opinion.
Prestigio MultiPhone 8500 DUO and Prestigio MultiPhone 8400 DUO
Prestigio announced its first two Windows Phone 8.1 handsets at the show, the Prestigio MultiPhones 8400 DUO and 8500 DUO. Both devices feature quad core processors, 8 MP cameras, IPS displays, and dual SIMs.
The entry-level 8400 DUO has a 4-inch display running at 480 x 800, a 1.2 GHz processor, a .3 MP front-facing camera and will cost only $115 USD when it appears in August.
The mid-level 8500 DUO has a 5-inch display running at 720p (720 x 1280), a 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and a 2 MP front-facing camera. It will ship in July and will cost $235 USD.
Yezz Billy 4.7 Windows Phone
Markets: Europe, Latin America, United States
The Yezz Billy 4.7 is named after Bill Gates—the firm's "Andy" phone is named after Android project lead Andy Rubin—and features a 4.7-inch IPS display, a 1.2 GHz processor, an 8 MP rear camera, and dual SIM capability. It will cost $250 and be available for purchase through Amazon.com, and will have interchangeable color covers in red, white, and blue.
A second, lower-end Yezz Windows Phone handset, the Billy 4.0, will ship later and feature a 4-inch OGS screen, an 8 MP rear camera, and a quad core processor. It will cost $140.
Note: There are obviously omissions in the specs. This is the information Microsoft and the partners have provided so far.